Fort Worth Concert:
Thu, Feb 12 2015, 7:30pm
Renzo Piano Pavilion
Fri, Feb 13 2015, 8:00pm
University Park United Methodist Church
Sat, Feb 14 2015, 7:30pm
(Non-season Special Event)
Kimbell Art Museum
February 12 & 13: Enjoy two great full length concerts of Classical and Flamenco guitar in Dallas and Fort Worth.
Valentine’s Gala (Feb 14): Pepe will play a special one hour program of his personal classical and flamenco favorites, followed by a catered “Spanish Fiesta” with Pepe and his wife Carissa as our special guests. Enjoy tapas and Spanish wine in the Kimbell’s beautiful Renzo Piano Pavilion.
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, indeed, 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. But perhaps we should start at the beginning…
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, in spite of 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 fifty 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 alive, 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, Mauro Giuliani, Francesco Molino, Ferdinando Carulli, Johann Kaspar Mertz, Luigi Boccherini, and others.
In 1992, Pepe Romero performed on a groundbreaking laser disc of the Concierto de Aranjuezwith 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 entire Romero Guitar Quartet), Concierto madrigal (with Angel Romero), andConcierto para una fiesta; Federico Moreno Torroba’s Diálogos entre guitarra y orquesta (Pepe was personally chosen by Moreno Torroba and Andrés Segovia for the world premiere recording of this work dedicated to Segovia); and Lorenzo Palomo’s Concierto de Cienfuegos(with the Romero Quartet) and Nocturnos de Andalucía (both released on the Naxos label). He also revived the great orchestral work Metamorfosi de concert by Xavier Montsalvatge, with Gianandrea Noseda, and premiered as well as recorded the Concerto for Guitar and Orchestrawith Trumpet Obbligato by Paul Chihara, with Neville Marriner and the London Symphony.
In 2005 the Romero Quartet recorded Concierto vasco para 4 guitarras y orquesta by Francisco de Madina (written for the Romeros) with the Basque National Orchestra on a Claves release (entitled Aita Madina). A prominent new recording entitled The Romeros: Generations, features premieres of works by Jorge Morel (such as El Maestro, dedicated to Celedonio) and by Pepe himself, Recuerdos del pasado. In the spring of 2005, a solo recital release called Corazón Español became available on the CPA Hollywood Records label. Shortly thereafter, on the same label, came Classic Romero, another invaluable recital recording. In the summer of 2008, Pepe Romero recorded a splendid solo-vocal work by Lorenzo Palomo, with internationally recognized Spanish soprano Maria Bayo. It included the song cycles Mi jardín solitario (with texts by Celedonio Romero) and Madrigal and Five Sephardic Songs and was released on the NAXOS label in 2009 along with Palomo’s Concierto de Cienfuegos with the Romero Quartet and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos conducting the Sevilla Royal Symphony Orchestra. Celebrating their 50th anniversary and released in 2009, is a brand new recording by the Romeros for Sony´s RCA Red Seal Label entitled Los Romeros: Celebration. In November 2011 Deutsche Grammophon released Christmas with the Romeros featuring the Romeros and Christmas favorites. A new Spanish solo guitar collection featuring Pepe Romero includes a premiere recording of Suite Madrileña No. 1 by Celedonio Romero and is due for release in summer 2012 by Deutsche Grammophon.
In the 2012/2013 season Pepe Romero will be honoring the 100th anniversary of the birth of his father, the legendary Celedonio Romero. And in 2013/2104, Pepe Romero will tour the world celebrating his own 70th year.
Pepe Romero has performed (by himself and with his family) at the White House, the Vaticanfor Pope John Paul II, for HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, and Queen Beatrice of Holland. He has been a special guest at music festivals inSalzburg, Israel, Schleswig-Holstein, Tanglewood, Menuhin Festival, Osaka, Granada, Istanbul, Ravinia, Garden State, Hollywood Bowl, Blossom, Wolf Trap, and Saratoga, among many others.
In the United States, he has appeared with leading symphony orchestras in Philadelphia,Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, New York, andLos 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, Monte Carlo Philharmonic, I Musici, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Hungarica, Solisti di Zagreb, Hungarian State Orchestra, Spanish National Orchestra, Spanish National Radio Television Orchestra, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Hamburg Philharmoniker, L’Orchestre de la Suisse-Romande, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, New Moscow Chamber Orchestra, American Sinfonietta, and Bournemouth Symphony—among many others.
In addition, he has collaborated with such distinguished conductors as Sir Neville Marriner, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Jesús López-Cobos, Eugene Ormandy, Antoni Ros-Marbà, Josep Pons, Arthur Fiedler, Lawrence Foster, Enrique Jordá, Andre Kostelanetz, Leonard Slatkin, Phillipe Entremont, Odón Alonso, Morton Gould, Michael Palmer, Guillermo Figueroa, Michael Zearrot, Miguel Ángel Gómez Martínez, Pedro Halffter, and Christoph Eschenbach.
Pepe Romero has always felt, along with his father and brothers, that the sharing of one’s art is a personal responsibility. Mr. Romero has served as Professor of Guitar at the University ofSouthern California, University of California at San Diego, Southern Methodist University, and the University of San Diego. He has conducted master classes at the Salzburg Summer Academy, Córdoba Guitar Festival, and the Schleswig-Holstein Festival. In 2004 he was appointed Distinguished Artist in Residence at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.
Pepe Romero holds an honorary doctorate in music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the University of Victoria, British Columbia. In June 1996, he received the “Premio Andalucía de la Música,” the highest recognition given by his native land for his contribution to the arts. In addition, His Majesty, King Juan Carlos I of Spain, has knighted Pepe and his brothers into the Order of “Isabel la Católica.”
A biographical documentary about the Romeros appeared on PBS in 2001 entitled “Los Romeros, the Royal Family of the Guitar.” Following this production, German television released another brilliant documentary about the Romeros entitled ¨Los Romeros, the Dynasty of the Guitar.” In 2007, the Romeros received the President’s Merit Award from the RecordingAcademy, producers of the Grammy Awards, for their significant contributions to the music world and professional career achievements.
What will come tomorrow? Who knows? Pepe is only just beginning to flex his artistic muscles…
Lagrima Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909)
Mazurca en sol
Las dos hermanitas (vals)
Fantasía sobre motivos de “La Traviata”, Op.8
~~~ Intermission ~~~
Leyenda Isaac Albéniz (1860 -1909)
Rumores de la Caleta (trans. Pepe Romero)
Suite Castellana Federico M. Torroba (1891-1982)
Fantasía Sevillana Joaquín Turina (1882-1949)
Suite Andaluza Celedonio Romero (1913-1996)
Alegrías, Zapateado, Fantasia
Program subject to change
Born November 21, 1852 in Villarreal, Castellón
Died December 15, 1909 in Barcelona
After playing the first part of a much-anticipated concert in London, Francisco Tárrega was so overcome by homesickness for his family and his Spain, he left the hall for a break and stood on a balcony facing the direction of home. He lit a cigarette and felt a tear fall down his cheek. He was called back in to play the second part of the concert which he began with an improvisation later to become “Una Lágrima”, a tear.
¡Adelita! Mazurca para guitarra
Mazurca en Sol
Tárrega was deeply inspired by the works of Frederic Chopin, especially his magnificent mazurkas. These mazurcas of Francisco Tárrega take on a sad and painful expression of love, thus creating the “Spanish mazurca” as a slow version of her Polish cousin while maintaining the same rhythmic structure.
Pavana (Linda pavana)
This “pavana a la manera antigua” is based on the renaissance dance form, but with the motifs so identifiable of Tárrega; simple, beautiful melody accompanied by charming trills and ornaments, evoking a feeling of endearment.
Tárrega envisions the beautiful Moorish women dressed in their silks and illuminated by the filtering light in the halls of the Alhambra. Reminiscence of the dances performed for sultans, the harmonies and continuous rhythmic bass – he takes his inspiration from the flamenco-moorish dance, handed down by the Hispano-Musulmanes as they fled Granada and settled in the caves of the Sacramonte.
¡Marieta! Mazurca para guitarra
Marieta was composed and named for his daughter and also appears entitled “Tristeza” or sadness. These sad love songs are the expression of his homesickness for his daughter when he was away on concert tours.
Written for his wife, Maria, it is one of the most charming and elegant pieces by Tárrega and it is the only existing recorded piece by Tárrega himself, representing how special this work was to him.
Las dos hermanitas (vals)
This playful waltz was written during a prolific stay in Algiers in 1900 and brings to mind the joyful attitude of child’s play and Tárrega’s longing for home and family.
Enchanted by the innocence of children as they played together and as they marveled at the circus performers of acrobats – in this polka Tárrega himself sees the world through the eyes of a child.
Tárrega was responsible for initiating the renaissance that the guitar has enjoyed throughout the world to the present day. Capricho árabe, among Tárrega’s most famous, is an original composition for guitar that takes a glance back in time, reminding one of the strong Moorish influences in Spain. Dedicated to the famed composer, Tomas Bretón, this is one of his most emblematic pieces recalling the Arabian deserts with the camel´s steady pace as the Moor plays his love song on a chirimia (an Arabian oboe).
Fantasia sobre motivos de “La Traviata”, op. 8
When Tárrega heard this piece performed by guitarist/composer/teacher Julian Arcas, he was deeply touched by it. While on tour in London, Tárrega wanted to perform this piece and wrote it out from his memory of this live performance adding his own stamp and musical inspiration.
The jota is both a song and a dance and is particularly associated with Aragon and the Ebro valley. A legend has it that a Valencian Moor named Aben Hot invented it in the 12th century; the authorities considered the dance too suggestive (a similar accusation was later made of the zarabanda and other dances) and the Moor fled to Calatayud, in Aragon, where the citizens were more receptive. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, certain characteristic Spanish dances caught the imagination of northern Europeans. There was a fad for the fandango, the cachucha, and especially the jota. In 1845 Glinka heard a jota performed by guitarist Felix Castilla, a merchant’s son in Valladolid; his guests played and sang the jota at the frequent tertulias in his apartment in Madrid. Later that year, he wrote his Caprice brillant sur la thème la Jota aragonesa (1845) Liszt, who had toured Spain the year before, also wrote several pieces inspired by Spanish music, the best of which was his Rhapsodie espagnole (1863), a medley of the folias d’Éspaña and the jota aragonesa.
About this same time the young virtuoso Julián Arcas Lacal (1832-1882), wrote a Jota aragonesa for the guitar, dedicated to the guitarist Magin Alegre, and it soon became his most popular composition. A decade later, Arcas´s most illustrious pupil, Francisco Tárrega revived and rewrote Arcas´Jota into the Gran jota de concierto (1872) with a showy, Lisztean introduction and new variations which incorporated virtually every virtuoso technique known to the guitar at the time.
Born May 29, 1860 in Camprodón, Lérida
Died May 18, 1909 in Cambô-les-Bains
Leyenda (Asturias from Suite Española no.1 and Prélude from Chants d’Espagne)
Isaac Albéniz began the important modern movement in Spanish music and is largely responsible for its extraordinary popularity. His talent as a pianist was obvious almost from infancy and he was known as the “Spanish Rubenstein”. By petition of Debussy, Fauré and other distinguished composers, the French government presented Albéniz the medal of the Legion of Honor.
The first movement (Prelude) of the suite Chants d’Espagne, later retitled by the publisher after the composer’s death as Asturias (Leyenda), is probably most famous today as part of the classical guitar repertoire (heard here in a transcription by Pepe Romero), though it was composed originally for the piano. Its driving rhythm and soulful, middle section illustrate the great inspiration Albéniz found in Andalucía, particularly Granada.
Rumores de la caleta
Rumores de la caleta [‘Murmurs of the cove’] written as a malagueña is a reference to a well-known cove on the coast near Málaga and comes from Albéniz’ Recuerdos de viaje, Op. 71 (“Travel Souvenirs”); this work was written in 1887 after the composer toured in Spain.
Granada, the first movement of Suite española No.1, is in the form of a serenade and was written during his stay in Granada in 1886. Its lazy melody, in the lower register, recalls the sound of the guzla, a small lute-like instrument, and carries with it the perfumes of the city of Granada. Albéniz writes, “..romantic to the point of paroxysm and sad to the point of despair…I seek now the tradition.. I want the Arabic Granada, which is all art, which is all that seems to me beauty and emotion.”
The evocative “Sevilla” is part of Albéniz’ Suite espanola No.1; each movement of the Suite española represents a city or province of Spain. “Sevilla,” exhibits the rhythmic verve of sevillanas, the light-hearted Andalusian folk dance and its slow movement, copla, enchants with arabesque quality.
Federico Moreno Torroba began his musical studies with his father, Jose Moreno Ballestreros, an organist who taught at the Madrid Conservatory. Federico was inspired by the Spanish nationalists from an early age, and intended to create an authentic Spanish opera. His first orchestral pieces date from about 1920, and he gained fame as a composer of zarzuelas, the unique lyric theater of Spain; his best known works include La virgen de Mayo (1926) and Luisa Fernanda (1932).
He was also among the first composers approached by Andres Segovia to write for the guitar and continued to compose for the guitar for the rest of his life, an output which included not only solos, but also several guitar quartets and concertos written for the Romeros.
In 1920 at the request of Andres Segovia, Torroba composed a piece, “Danza”, which virtually founded the modern guitar repertoire. Subsquently he wrote “Fandaguillo” and “Arada” to precede the “Danza” and this became Suite castellana, published in 1926.
Fantasía Sevillana, Op. 29
Born December 9, 1882 in Seville
Died January 14, 1949 in Madrid
Next to Falla, Turina plays the most significant role in Spanish impressionistic music. Educated in Spain, Turina left his native country to spend a decade in Paris where he became close friends and collaborator with Manuel de Falla and Isaac Albéniz, who provided the stimulus for directing Turina’s efforts toward the writing of Spanish nationalistic music.
Perhaps in his own words Turina describes this work for solo guitar best:
“My music is the expression of the feeling of a true Sevillian who did not know Seville until he left it, and this is mathematics, yet it is necessary for the artist to move away to get to know his country, as for the painter who makes some steps backwards to be able to take in the complete picture.”
© 2000 Columbia Artist Management Inc.
Suite Andaluza (Alegrías, Zapateado, Fantasía)
Born March 2, 1913 in Malaga
Died May 8, 1996 in San Diego, CA
”A mi hijo, el gran guitarrista Pepe Romero”, is the inscription on the Suite Andaluza as Celedonio Romero wrote the collection on the occasion of Pepe Romero’s first concert.
The composer began playing the guitar at a very early age. He once said “Perhaps I was a guitarist in some earlier existence. Because when I picked up the guitar as a very young child, I simply began to play, as if my fingers had already been trained.” His parents thought that they should develop this talent, and saw to it that he had the very best teachers. In Malaga he studied with Don Leandro Rivera Pons. Celedonio enjoyed a close friendship with composer Joaquín Turina, and his style of composition was greatly influenced by Turina. As the patriarch of the world’s most famous guitar quartet, his performing career went hand-in-hand with his compositional career.
Its movements are each inspired by Flamenco dances. The different dances indicate the type of meter and mode according to the name. Alegrías is marked Allegro and is a rendition of this lively flamenco dance from Cadiz. It contains a central slow movement, silencio in which the dancer demonstrates graceful upper body, arm and hand movements. Zapateado is named for the Spanish dance that is characterized by keeping time by stamping one’s feet on the floor. The final movement, Fantasia, is a technical showpiece. It is reminiscent of the very first efforts of Celedonio improvising on the guitar when he was a small child. His father would come home from work and ask him to play “los compuestos”, which to them meant “improvisations. Fantasía received its basic form is from the Cuban rhythm of guajiras.