Recent Student Successes
In 2008, this institute was created by Celin, Pepe, Angel, Lito, and Celino Romero to honor the life and legacy of their father and grandfather, Celedonio Romero. It gives a rare opportunity for students and professionals to gather from all over the world to spend a week learning from the Romeros in one-on-one lessons, masterclasses, and ensemble coaching. Evening activities often involve sitting around a fire and listening to the Romeros talk about their musical adventures. Romero scholars and industry professionals, including their former managers, give lectures. Several student concerts throughout the week and a final concert where participants perform in small and large ensembles with Los Romeros. Last year, we added an apprentice program where participants taught and provided outreach for the Oklahoma City Community.
"I still have yet to find another festival that has formed a family of attendees in the way that this one has and suspect that there is a chance that I may never find another quite like this one."
Gwenyth Aggelar - Peabody Conservatory
Joaquín Rodrigo, one of Spain’s greatest contemporary composers, said of Celedonio Romero: "He has contributed immensely through his artistic interpretations for classical guitar music. More importantly, he has enlarged and enriched the repertoire of 20th century music with his own compositions."
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 España 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.
Celedonio Romero was highly decorated for his contributions to the Spanish culture and to the world of the classical guitar. He was knighted by His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain, achieving the rank of Comendador de Número de la Orden de Isabel la Catolica. He received many other high honors and awards from leaders around the world including Caballero del Santo Sepulcro ("Knight of the Holy Sepulchre") given by Pope John Paul II. Among the local honors he received, Celedonio was especially proud of the Beethoven Award presented by KFSD, the classical radio station in San Diego, and "Celedonio Romero Day" (January 14th) proclaimed by the Mayor of San Diego. For his 80th birthday gala celebrations were held around the world in Málaga, Sevilla, Berlin, London and San Diego. The city of Málaga named him Hijo Predilecto con la Medalla de Oro. In 1995, Celedonio was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Victoria, British Columbia.
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.