Presented in association with OMNI Foundation for the Performing Arts
Saturday, February 10, 2024 | 7:30pm
Herbst TheatreVenue Information
About This Performance
“In a career that’s lasted more than half a century, Pepe Romero has proven himself to be an important part of the classical guitar’s 20th-century revival,” according to Limelight. How we listen to classical guitar—and what we listen to—we owe in part to the Romero family, and Pepe has been among its most active and influential members. Join us for this solo recital celebrating his 80th birthday and more than seven decades on the professional stage.
To be announced
There are very few true living legends in the world of classical music, few who have sustained greatness and grown throughout their lives. Pepe Romero is such an artist. He has been honored by kings, heads of state, and major institutions-the encomiums continue to pour in. But to Romero, his most important contribution has been reaching the common man. He has communicated the richness and beauty of the classical guitar to millions of people throughout the world. He has become an ambassador of classical music, and, correspondingly, of the classical guitar.
But this gift did not just appear out of nowhere. Pepe is the second son of one of the greatest guitarists that ever lived—Celedonio Romero. And he is brother to two more musical phenoms—Celin and Angel Romero.
Pepe was born in Málaga, Spain, in 1944. In those days, following the devastating Spanish Civil War (1936–39) and during the Second World War, Spain was in desperate economic straits. Basic survival was the primary challenge. Yet, despite this, Celedonio Romero and his remarkable wife, Angelita, instilled in all three of their children a love of music that transcended the profound misery surrounding them.
By age seven, Pepe set foot on the concert stage for the first time, at the Teatro Lope de Vega in Sevilla. And now, more than seventy years later, he continues to mesmerize audiences throughout the world. During that time, he has given literally thousands of concerts worldwide, many with the remarkable Romero Quartet, and many as a solo instrumentalist. He has worked with almost every major conductor and has to his credit more than 60 recordings (among which are 20 concerto recordings with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, with both Neville Marriner and Iona Brown).
Pepe Romero has premiered works by some of the finest composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Joaquín Rodrigo, Federico Moreno Torroba, Lorenzo Palomo, Padre Francisco de Madina, Paul Chihara, Enrique Diemecke, Ernesto Cordero, and, most poignantly, Celedonio Romero, have written compositions for Pepe. Always a champion of music by composers in earlier periods of music history, he has also delved into rare archives to re-explore lost pieces by Fernando Sor, (world premiere and recording of Fantasie in D Minor), Mauro Giuliani (world premiere recordings of Concerto No. 2 in A Major and Concerto No. 3 in F Major and Variations and Polonaise, Op. 65), Francesco Molino (world premier recording of Guitar Concerto in E Minor, Op. 56), Ferdinando Carulli (world premiere recording of Guitar Concerto in E Minor, Op. 140), Johann Kaspar Mertz, Luigi Boccherini, (world premiere recording of all 8 guitar quintets) and others.
In 1992, Pepe Romero performed on a groundbreaking laser disc of the Concierto de Aranjuez with Neville Marriner and the Academy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields. He played a prominent role in the major film documentary Shadows and Light: Joaquin Rodrigo at 90, which received numerous plaudits worldwide (including the Chicago International Film Festival, International Emmy Awards, and San Francisco International Film Festival).
Maestro Romero's many accomplishments include: world premieres of Rodrigo’s Concierto andaluz (with the Romero Guitar Quartet), Concierto madrigal (with Angel Romero), and Concierto para una fiesta (written for Pepe Romero); Federico Moreno Torroba's Diálogos entre guitarra y orquesta (Pepe was personally chosen by Torroba and Andrés Segovia for the world recording premiere of this work dedicated to Segovia with an extended guitar cadenza written especially for Pepe), Concierto Ibérico by Torroba (written for and performed by the Romeros), Concierto en flamenco by Torroba was premiered in Málaga (performed by Pepe with Angel Romero conducting); and Lorenzo Palomo's Concierto de Cienfuegos (with the Romero Quartet) and Nocturnos de Andalucía (both released on the Naxos label).
In the United States, he has appeared with leading symphony orchestras in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, New York, and Los Angeles, as well as with the Orpheus Chamber Ensemble and Boston Pops. European ensembles with which he has appeared include the Academy of St-Martins-in-the-Fields, Dresden Philharmonic, London Symphony, la Accademia Santa Cecilia di Roma, Monte Carlo Philharmonic, and many others.
A biographical documentary about the Romeros appeared on PBS in 2001 entitled Los Romeros, the Royal Family of the Guitar. In 2007, the Romeros received the President's Merit Award from the Recording Academy, producers of the Grammy© Awards, for their significant contributions to the music world and professional career achievements.