© 2024 WFAE

Mailing Address:
WFAE 90.7
P.O. Box 896890
Charlotte, NC 28289-6890
Tax ID: 56-1803808
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Pepe Romero and the Art of the Spanish Guitar

In a strange world renowned for its prima donnas and gnarly characters, I continue to be surprised by a fairly consistent truth: The greatest artists are, generally, the most humble and unaffected. Today, many of the world's most commercially successful musicians are deflective about playing a live gig on radio. They'd rather not, because... they don't have to.

Pepe Romero is a scion of the supreme "Royal Family" of the Spanish guitar. Yet, as an artist, he is both humble and generous. The opportunity to have a casual visit and share the memories and music that was (and still is) important to his family was an honor. He is, truly, a Gentilhombre, though not the same one for whom Rodrigo wrote and named his famous concerto. (That was Segovia.)

Rodrigo wrote a different concerto for Pepe Romero (Concierto para una Fiesta), who speaks of it as an inexplicable gift from a god. For Pepe, it seems, is simply the humble servant selected to channel these great gifts to his extended family: music lovers everywhere.

He spoke of his family and their love for music and for each other as if we knew them and understood. He also played a brief favorite written by his father, Celedonio, the Romero Patriarch. Such easy intimacy is itself a gift. Perhaps it's the easy confidence that comes with a lifetime spent performing with the greats of our day, but somehow Romero knew he was with members of that family here in our WGBH studio, and delighted to play as if in front of sell-out crowd at Carnegie Hall.

More About Pepe Romero

Pepe Romero is the best-known member of the distinguished Romero family of guitarists from Spain, often called "The Royal Family of the Guitar." He studied with his father, Celedonio, and made his public debut in Seville, performing with his father at age 7.

Pepe and his brothers Angel and Celin have been knighted by King Juan Carlos of Spain. The family now extends into a third generation, with sons of all three brothers playing guitar. Pepe Jr. has now become a respected luthier, building guitars for his father and others.

Pepe Romero's first recording featured traditional flamenco music of his native Andalucia, and was made when the young guitarist was just 15. Since then, Romero has recorded more than 50 albums, including a best-selling disc of Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez with Sir Neville Marriner and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.

Romero has performed with many of the world's greatest orchestras and conductors. His style, incorporating traditions of flamenco and classical, has inspired a number of composers, including Rodrigo, Torroba and Palomo, to write music especially for him.

Romero also composes music for the guitar and has served as guitar professor at the University of Southern California, Southern Methodist University and the University of San Diego.

For more than 55 years, WGBH Radio Boston has produced award-winning music programs and documentary features ranging from classical to Celtic, jazz, blues and folk.

Copyright 2007 GBH

Richard Knisely