Cellist Rafael León is in his 26th year with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, having been the principal cellist for the first 20 years and later as section player. He was born in Mexico City, Mexico into a family of musicians. His grandfather, Fausto León, gave him his first cello lessons. Mr. León holds degrees from the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City, where he studied with Adolfo Odnoposoff, and the University of Mexico, where he studied with Sally Van Den Berg. He has performed as a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra of the University of México, the Opera Orchestra of México, the National Symphony of México, the Morelia International Festival, and the Missouri Symphony Society. For 7 years, he taught during the summer at the Breckenridge Music Institute in Colorado, where he also performed as a member of the BMI Orchestra and the Blue River Quartet. He has taught on the faculties of UALR, Ouachita Baptist University, and Hendrix College, and currently maintains a private studio of cello students.