Celedonio Romero

Celedonio Romero

Composer, guitarist and poet, Celedonio Romero was born on March 2, 1913, in Cienfuegos, Cuba. He studied classical guitar at the Conservatory of Málaga, and later at the Conservatory of Madrid, where he was a pupil of Joaquín Turina. He first performed in public at the age of 10. After his formal debut at age 22 he played widely in Spain, France and Italy.

The late Joaquín Rodrigo, one of Spain's greatest 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."

From Spain to America

Deprived of artistic freedom under the oppressive government of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, Celedonio escaped 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. 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 Spanish culture and to the world of the classical guitar. King Juan Carlos I knighted Celedonio into the "Orden de Isabel la Católica”. He received many other high honors and awards from leaders around the world including "Caballero del Santo Sepulcre” ("Knight of the Holy Sepulcher") given by His Holiness Pope John Paul II (for which he is subsequently addressed as Sir Celedonio Romero), the Gold Medal of the Japan Festivals, the "Placa” given by the Red Cross of Mexico, the "Insignia de Santiago el Mayor”, and the "Artista de Honor y Amigo de San Diego” given by the Mexican and American Foundation. For his 80th Birthday, gala celebrations were held in Málaga, Seville, Berlin, London and San Diego. The city of Málaga named him "Hijo Predilecto con la Medalla de Oro” and created a museum and foundation in his name. 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 attribute to the work of Celedonio Romero. His compositions for classical guitar, numbering over 100 and including a dozen concerti, have emerged as masterpieces for the guitar. Once an instrument used only for folk music, the guitar is now firmly established in the symphonic setting and is a favorite for recitals in cultural arts performance series. 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 at conservatories and universities worldwide.