A veritable institution in the world of classical music, the quartet has dazzled countless audiences and won the raves of reviewers worldwide. Celedonio Romero, founder and creator of The Romeros guitar dynasty, died on May 8, 1996 in San Diego, California. As the family says, "the spirit of the quartet is him; all our concerts now will be to pay homage to him"; his sons and grandsons continue Celedonio's legacy.
To some fortunate musicians, it is given to rise to the peak of a musical art form; to some very few musicians, it is given to originate an art form. The Romeros have achieved both. In a lengthy feature article The New York Times said: "Collectively, they are the only classical guitar quartet of real stature in the world today; in fact, they virtually invented the format."
The legendary Celedonio Romero, with his sons Celin, Pepe and Angel, founded the internationally renowned ensemble known to millions as "The Royal Family of the Guitar." With the introduction of Celin's son, Celino, into the quartet in 1990, and Angel's son Lito joining his father in duo recital, The Romeros encompasses three generations of concert artists. To have so many virtuosi of the same instrument in one family is unique in the world of musical performance, and in the realm of the classical guitar it is absolutely without precedent.
Those who are privileged to hear these world-renowned musicians perform have the delightful opportunity to experience a musical phenomenon: "One of the enduring mysteries of musical talent is how skills seem to flow genetically from musical parent to musical child. In the Romero family the flow has been swift and unimpeded. The virtuosity of the four Romeros was uniformly solid and finely considered, as if these techniques had derived from a single mold" (The New York Times).
Celedonio Romero was a renowned soloist in Franco's Spain. As each of his sons reached the age of two or three, they began learning the guitar from their father. All of his sons had made their debuts in Spain by the time they were seven years old. In 1957, the family immigrated to the United States where "The Romeros" walked onto the world stage as its first guitar quartet while the boys were still in their teens. Since then The Romeros have given hundreds of concerts all over the world and have consistently dazzled audiences everywhere and have inspired enthusiastic praise from critics coast to coast. They continue to this day to produce music, which is extraordinary.
The sterling reputation of the Romeros has been continually confirmed by repeated appearances with virtually every major symphony orchestra in the United States including those of Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Detroit and many others. The family has twice been invited to the White House; in 1983 they appeared at the Vatican in a special concert for His Holiness Pope John Paul II, and in 1986 they performed for His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. Regular festival appearances include the Hollywood Bowl, Blossom, Wolf Trap, Saratoga, Flagstaff and Garden State.
After a performance at the prestigious Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany in November 1996 the Leipzig Volkszeitung stated "The Romeros: Guardians of the Holy Grail of the Classical Guitar. What the 'Three Tenors' are to the world of opera, The Romeros are to the classical guitar." Whether performing as a quartet, duet, or as soloists in recital and with symphony orchestra, The Romeros prevail as champions in the realm of classical guitar.
The 2001-2 season finds The Romeros performing in every corner of the United States. Orchestral engagements include the Louisiana Philharmonic, the Tacoma Symphony, the Philadelphia Chamber Soloists, and the San Diego Chamber Orchestra. The Quartet will also be found playing recitals in major cities around the US including Washington, DC, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Charlottesville.
In addition to The Romeros' active performance schedule, the 2001-2 season offers their audiences the opportunity to see and hear the Romeros on TV and CD. September 2001 brought the national release of the KPBS/PBS biographical documentary "Los Romeros: The Royal Family of the Guitar" shown on Public Broadcast Stations throughout the US. The long awaited recital CD of The Romeros is scheduled for a Spring 2002 release. Consequently, there will be a release of Lorenzo Palomo's concerto for four guitars "Concierto de Cienfuegos", performed by The Romeros with Maestro Frühbeck de Burgos conducting the Real Orquesta Sinfonica.
His Royal Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain, knighted Pepe and Celin into the Order of "Isabel la Catolica", Spain's highest honor. The official ceremony took place at the University of Southern California on February 11, 2000, and included a gala concert performed by The Romeros.
The Romeros are extremely popular with college audiences and make regular appearances on university music series throughout the country as well as on the fine arts series nationwide. In New York they have appeared at Carnegie Hall, at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, at the Cloisters in upper Manhattan's Fort Tryon Park and on the distinguished Artists Series at Rockefeller University. Additionally, they regularly tour throughout Europe and the Far East playing in every major city. Their most recent tours of Europe and the Orient included more than forty concerts; virtually all of the performances were sold out, and one concert in Taipei was attended by over 10,000 people.
For over 40 years three generations of Romeros have inspired composers to enrich the repertoire of guitar quartet with orchestra, which includes works by such distinguished composers as Joaquín Rodrigo, Federico Moreno Torroba, Morton Gould, Francisco de Madina, Lorenzo Palomo and others. Television fans have seen and heard the Romeros many times on television among them, the Tonight and Today shows as well as on PBS specials and PBS's telecast of Evening at the Boston Pops with The Romeros performing Vivaldi and Rodrigo.
In the words of Spanish composer Joaquin Rodrigo, "The Romeros have developed the technique of the guitar by making what is difficult to be easy; They are, without a doubt, the grand masters of the guitar."