Years Performed: 1988
Celebrated worldwide for his thrilling interpretations and flawless technique, guitarist Pepe Romero is constantly in demand for his solo recitals and performances with orchestra. His contributions to the field of classical guitar have inspired a number of distinguished composers to write works specifically for him, including Joaquín Rodrigo, Federico Moreno Torroba, Rev. Francisco de Madina, Lorenzo Palomo and Celedonio Romero.
Born on March 8, 1944, in Málaga, Spain, Pepe Romero is the second son of "The Royal Family of the Guitar", The Romeros. His father, the legendary Celedonio Romero, was his only guitar teacher. His first professional appearance was in a shared concert with his father when Pepe was only seven years old.
His most recent recording, Songs My Father Taught Me, is a performance of his father's favorite and original compositions. Soon to be released is a set of Boccherini quintets for guitar and string quartet, recorded for UNICEF. It includes a new guitar transcription of Música nocturna de Madrid. One of his latest solo recordings is a brilliant rendition of opera fantasies for the guitar.
A recording with I Musici was completed in summer, 1991, and in spring 1992, he recorded on laser disc with Neville Marriner and the Academy-of-St.-Martin-in-the-Fields Concierto de Aranjuez and selected solo works of Joaquín Rodrigo. He is also a leading personality in the film documentary--Shadows And Light: Rodrigo At 90, which has received numerous awards, including those from the Chicago International Film Festival, the International Emmy Awards and the San Francisco International Film Festival. His discography presently contains more than fifty recordings and includes over twenty concertos with the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields conducted by Sir Neville Marriner and Iona Brown. In addition, he has revived and premiered major works by such composers as Fernando Sor, Mauro Giuliani, Francesco Molino, Fernando Carulli, Johann Kaspar Mertz, Luigi Boccherini and others. Joaquín Rodrigo wrote his last guitar concerto, Concierto para una fiesta, for Pepe Romero in 1983; it was recorded on the Philips label. Andres Segovia and composer Federico Moreno Torroba chose Pepe Romero to record the world premiere of Diálogos entre guitarra y orquesta; it was originally written for Segovia. In January of 1996, Pepe Romero premiered Nocturnos de Andalucia, composed by Lorenzo Palomo, in performance in Berlin with Rafael Frübeck de Burgos conducting. That same year, following the death of his father, Celedonio Romero, he performed the world premiere of his father's concerto for guitar and orchestra El Cortijo de Don Sancho, with Michael Palmer conducting the American Sinfonietta.
His Majesty, King Juan Carlos I of Spain, knighted Pepe Romero and his brothers, Celin and Angel into the Order of "Isabel la Catolica". The official ceremony of this high honor took place at the University of Southern California, February 11, 2000 and included a gala performance of The Romeros. Pepe Romero also received the "Premio Andalucia de Müsica", the highest recognition given by his homeland for his contribution to the arts. He holds an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Victoria, British Columbia.
As a soloist, Pepe Romero has appeared in the United States with the Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Pittsburgh, Boston, San Francisco and Dallas Symphony Orchestras, as well as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras, the Boston Pops Orchestra, and the London Symphony. Orchestras with whom he has appeared in Europe and Great Britain include the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the Monte Carlo Philharmonic, I Musici, the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Hungarica, the Hungarian State Orchestra, the Spanish National Orchestra, the Spanish National Radio/Television Orchestra, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the New Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, the American Sinfonietta and the Bournemouth Symphony. He has been a special guest at the festivals of Salzburg, Israel, Schleswig-Holstein, Menuhin, Osaka, Granada, Istanbul, Ravinia, Garden State, Hollywood Bowl, Blossom, Wolf Trap and Saratoga.
With his father and brothers, Pepe Romero helped establish The Romeros Quartet as the leading classical guitar ensemble in the world. As a member of The Romeros, he has been invited to play at the White House, has performed at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II, and has performed for His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sophía of Spain, and Queen Beatrice of Holland.
Pepe Romero is dedicated to passing along his knowledge of the guitar; among his many students and first-prize winners of international guitar competitions. He has been Professor of Guitar at several universities and has taught annual masterclasses at the Salzburg Summer Academy, at the Schleswig-Holstein Festival and the Córdoba Guitar Festival.