Clarinetist JUAN LEON, 18, is a native of Los Angeles who currently attends the Los Angeles County High School for the Performing Arts, where he is in both the orchestra and the big band. He, his mother Michelle, and his sister Lilliana live in Highland Park. In addition to the clarinet, Juan also doubles on tenor saxophone, plays guitar, and writes music for personal entertainment. When asked why he was serious about music Juan said, "Music for me, was it.... I've always felt it. I've never particularly enjoyed sports or academics, but music...music I felt was something I could do."
Juan has studied the clarinet for over six years and his goal is to eventually become an E-flat clarinetist in a symphony orchestra. Although the final decision on where he will attend college has not been made, Juan has applied to several music schools in the eastern United States. He says he is looking forward to living in and experiencing a different part of the U.S. while in college. Three of the clarinetists he most admires are L.A. Phil player Monica Kaenzig, and his two teachers, Helen Goode Castro from LACHSA, and Yehuda Gilad, professor at USC and the Colburn School.
When Juan was in the 8th grade, his mom, Michelle, drove him to Las Vegas once a month for over a year to practice with Dimitar Trifonov, one of his first clarinet instructors. Michelle fully supports Juan's musical career in addition to caring for his sister, who is disabled and is unable to care for herself.
This Mother's Day, Juan will give his first solo performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall - Copland's Clarinet Concerto - as a salute to his mom to thank her for all of her support.