Celedonio Romero

Composer, guitarist and poet Celedonio Romero was born on March 2, 1913 in Cienfuegos, Cuba while his father, an architect from Málaga, was constructing the Concert Hall in Cienfuegos. At a very young age Celedonio returned with his family to Málaga. Due to his prodigious talent on the guitar he was largely self-taught on the instrument. He studied music and received his degree at the Conservatory of Málaga.

He first performed in public at the age of 10. After his formal debut at age 20, he played widely throughout Spain but was refused permission to perform outside of his native country. Deprived of his artistic freedom under the oppressive government of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, Celedonio immigrated with his family to the United States in 1957.

Within two years the family settled in southern California, and Celedonio created a guitar quartet with his sons Celin, Pepe, and Angel - The Romeros. In an article in The New York Times, a noted critic wrote "…Collectively, they are the only classical guitar quartet of real stature in the world today. In fact, they virtually invented the format." They became known as the "Royal Family of the Guitar". In 1990, grandson Celino replaced Angel, and the quartet comprised three generations of virtuosity. The family tradition continues with grandson Lito Romero joining the quartet upon Celedonio Romero’s death.

After the quartet’s first tour of the United States in 1961, they immediately went on to perform on The Ed Sullivan Show, at Carnegie Hall, and at the Hollywood Bowl. Since then The Romeros have played most of the great concert halls in America and have performed with virtually every major symphony orchestra in the world, including those of Cleveland, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Pittsburgh, Boston, San Francisco and Dallas in the United States, and The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the Vienna Radio Orchestra and la Orquesta Nacionál de Espaí±a in Europe. They collaborated with many of the world’s finest conductors. The Romeros have performed at the White House by invitation of two Presidents, at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II, for King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain, and for His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales. Celedonio’s voluminous discography, both in solo recordings and with the quartet on the Delos and Philips labels, brought his music to an ever-widening audience around the world.

Much of the credit for today’s high regard for the classical guitar can be attributed to the life work of Celedonio Romero. His compositions for classical guitar, numbering over 100 (including ten concertos) have emerged as masterpieces for the guitar. Joaquí­n Rodrigo said of Celedonio: "He has developed the technique of the guitar by making what is difficult to be easy. He is, without a doubt, the grand master of the guitar." Celedonio Romero was known and respected around the world, and The Celedonio Romero Method for the Classical Guitar is taught in Master and Doctoral programs in the universities of North America and Europe.