Mayde Creek High School graduate Roman Soto enjoys life as a professional cellist.
By Debbie McDaniel | KATY MAGAZINE, September 2017
Roman Soto, age 23, has traveled to amazing places, studied under the direction of gifted musicians, and performed on many reputable stages. And now this five-year student and co-principal of the Virtuosi of Houston and former student of Houston Symphony cellist Xiao Wong, has returned to his own Mayde Creek High School to encourage other students and give back to the place where it began.
Soto’s unique gift in music has opened many doors in his young lifetime. Yet no matter how far he’s traveled, Katy, Texas always feels like home. “I love the down to earth, warm feeling of Katy and am proud to have been a part of its education, culture, and history,” he says. “I look forward to returning, settling here, and bringing with me all that I know musically in order to start something special here.”
Mayde Creek Memories
Soto, a 2012 graduate, remembers that most of his teachers from Mayde Creek were wonderful and cultivated great creativity and individuality in their students, but some that stood out and made a big impact on his artistic career were James Davis (art), Shetye Cypher (yearbook and publications), Peggy Cook (digital graphics/animation), Mark Keene (music theory, band), and of course his orchestra director, Michael Jones.
“Mr. Jones and the orchestra program were crucial in my development as a musician and artist. He was always so involved with every student and their journey, and always pushed everyone to achieve a higher level of excellence both in orchestra, and in life in general,” he says. Soto specifically remembers all the times Jones would help sort out region and all-state music and help set up rehearsals and logistics with him. “He really wanted to see his students succeed and took great pride in that,” Soto adds.
Following His Dreams
A talented cellist, composer, arranger, and producer, Soto’s classical training and passionate understanding of music theory is quickly becoming recognized for its great skill and artistry. Soto’s musical works including classical, jazz, and contemporary, have led to a reputation as a highly sought after musician.
He is a former principal for the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra, the Neapolitan Orchestra, and former member of the Berklee World Strings, he is also the founding member, music director/composer for the chamber jazz group, CGC (Chamber Groove Company), and the Teros String Quartet.
“Mr. Jones and the orchestra program [at Mayde Creek HS] were crucial in my development as a musician and artist. He was always so involved with every student and their journey, and always pushed everyone to achieve a higher level of excellence both in orchestra, and in life in general."
“One of my fondest memories I have as a musician and cellist is the summer of 2014 when I traveled to Norway with my string quartet, Teros Quartet,” he recalls. “We were there as faculty performers to teach contemporary music to classical players at the Valdres Sommersymfoni Festival. Being able to teach such talented young musicians and share our artistry was one of the best times of my life!”
After graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston in May, Soto returned to Katy to gift eight original pieces of music he composed to his former high school orchestra program, directors, and district for their music libraries. “The Gift of Music was inspired by the desire to share knowledge of music education and the music industry with aspiring music students,” he shares.
He hopes to use some of his gifts and talents to give back to the people who helped mold his life and career as a musician.
“Just from the feedback and array of students and parents that came to talk to me immediately after the event, I know the impact it has is huge and one that is vital for students,” Soto says. “After talking to many parents and students, some of which dream of going to Berklee, I know that the event really was a shining light for them. I sincerely hope that it will be something they can look back on as having helped their music careers. That is invaluable.”
Coming Up Next
Soto has two albums out now - one is a jazz fusion album Enigma that he composed, produced, and engineered for his jazz band CGC. The second album is one he produced and engineered for Canadian pop singer-songwriter Spencer Nicholson.
He also works composing music for others, such as well-known concert cellist Patrice Jackson, of the Mark O'Connor String Quartet, for her upcoming album.
His advice to students hoping to pursue a musical career is sound, “Be unapologetically yourself. Don't let anyone box you in. Keep learning, practice hard, always network, and put yourself out there as much as possible. Don't ever stop.”
SOTO'S STAGE CREDITS
Houston Symphony's Jones Hall
French Embassy in Boston
Boston Grand Masonic Lodge
BSO Symphony Hall
Boston's Old South Church
Harvard's Sanders Theatre
MIT's Kresge Auditorium
Berklee Bean Town Jazz Festival
Valdres Sommersymfoni Festival in Norway
Interharmony Music Festival in Germany
New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall
Photography courtesy of Roman Soto
DEBBIE MCDANIEL is a writer who loves music and being a band mom to her 15-year-old drummer/ saxophonist son, Dawson.
To have your ad featured in Katy Magazine articles, email us!
<<BACK TO KATY STORIES