Julio Cesar Barreto was born in Guanabacoa/La Habana/Cuba where he began his musical adventures. Surrounded by a musical family, he was exposed to a variety of musical settings. His older brothers and uncles played with such legendary notables as Louis Armstrong and Benny More. By the age of seven he began to dabble in the world of Afro-Cuban percussion. By the age of twelve he had begun performing professionally in both private and official events.
In 1983 Julio attended courses at the National School of Art which led him to further studies at the Academy of "Amadeo Roldan." In only six years he succeeded in finishing the rigorous nine-year classical music studies at the Academy of "Amadeo Roldan" While he was studying, Julio was playing drums in different Cuban groups like Kiki Corona and Roberto Poveda.
After his studies, Julio Barreto began performing with several well-known singers of Cuban popular music. These artists included Xiomara Laugart and Alfredo Rodriguez.
In 1990, Julio was playing jazz with the group "Cuarto Espacio," which was led by Omar Hernandez. But, in January of 1991 Julio joined the well-known keyboard virtuoso Gonzalo Rubalcaba. For seven years Julio and Gonzalo Rubalcaba toured the world in a trio and a quartet line-up. The groups have included such jazz notables as Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Miroslav Vitous, John Pattitucci, and Buster Williams.
At the end of 1995, Julio Barreto formed his own group called the "Julio Barreto Trio," with Cuban musicians Antonio Perez on piano and Manuel Orza on bass. Two years later, in 1997, he formed a quartet called the "Julio Barreto Cuban Quartet," which features Carlos Puig on trumpet/keyboards, Danny Martinez on guitar, and Manuel Orza on bass. Their CD called "Lyabo," which was released in 1999, featured special guest Ravi Coltrane, son of saxophone legend John Coltrane.
Starting in 1998 Julio Barreto became a member of Roy Hargrove's Cuban flavored group the Crisol All-Stars and recorded their album. Now making his home in Switzerland, Julio continues to record and tour with several national as well as international recording artists including Sophia Domanchich, David Sanchez, Chucho Valdes, and Steve Coleman.
His project Julio Barreto Latino World plays in numerous festivals and clubs throughout Europe.