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 performed for and been honored by kings, heads of state, and major institutions. 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.
Pepe was born in Málaga, Spain, in 1944. By age seven, he performed 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 by giving thousands of concerts, many with the remarkable Romero Quartet, and many as a solo instrumentalist. He has worked with almost every major conductor, and has to his credit more than 60 recordings.
Romero has premiered works by some of the finest composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Joaquín Rodrigo, Federico Moreno Torroba, Paul Chihara, and, most poignantly, Celedonio Romero, have written compositions for Pepe. Always a champion of music by early composers, 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 the U.S., he has appeared with leading symphony orchestras in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, San Francisco, Dallas, New York, and Los Angeles. European ensembles include the Academy of St-Martins-in-the-Fields, Dresden Philharmonic, London Symphony, Hungarian State Orchestra, Spanish National Orchestra, Spanish National Radio Television Orchestra, and Hamburg Philharmoniker among others.
In addition, he has collaborated with such distinguished conductors as Sir Neville Marriner, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Jesús López-Cobos, Eugene Ormandy, Andre Kostelanetz, Leonard Slatkin, Phillipe Entremont, Michael Palmer, Guillermo Figueroa, Michael Zearrot, and Christoph Eschenbach.
Romero has served as Professor of Guitar at the University of Southern California, University of California at San Diego, Southern Methodist University, and the University of San Diego. He has conducted masterclasses 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 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."