Photo Memories : Pepe Romero, Spain


Cameo performance by the 2018 Beatty Music Competition Grand Prize Winner, Carlos Olivares – This picture is from the sound check.

Beatty Music Competition Grand Prize Winner, Carlos Olivares
2018 Beatty Competition Grand Prize Winner, Carlos Olivares

Classical guitarist Pepe Romero, Spain. This picture is from the sound check.

Classical Guitarist Pepe Romero, Spain
Classical Guitarist Pepe Romero, Spain
Pre-Concert Speaker, Jonathan Palevsky
Pre-Concert Speaker, Jonathan Palevsky

Pepe Romero, Classical Guitarist, Spain

For the sixth performance of the 2017-2018 Season, we invite you to the Westmoreland Congregational Church in Bethesda, MD to hear classical guitarist, Pepe Romero (Spain) perform.

Performance: April 21, 2018, 8pm.

To call Pepe Romero a superb guitarist is to understate the case… Mr. Romero is an exceptional musician.
The New York Times

Celebrated worldwide for his dazzling virtuosity, compelling interpretations and flawless technique, concert guitarist Pepe Romero is constantly in demand for his recitals, performances with orchestra and with the world famous Los Romeros Quartet.

Born in 1944 in Malaga, Spain, Pepe Romero is the second son of “The Royal Family of the Guitar” – the Romeros. His father, the legendary Celedonio Romero, was his only teacher. Mr. Romero’s first professional performance occurred in a shared concert with his father in Sevilla’s Teatro Lope de Vega when Pepe was seven years old. After relocating to America, Celedonio Romero formed the Romeros Quartet with his three sons: Celine, Pepe and Angel. Their many performances solidified them as the leading guitar ensemble in the world.

Although best known for his classical guitar performances, Mr. Romero’s passion for the traditional flamenco music of Andalucia has never wavered. His first recording, ‘Flamenco Fenomeno’ for Contemporary Records, was made when he was only 15. Since then, Mr. Romero has made more than 50 recordings among which are over 20 concertos with the Academy of St. Martin-in–the-Fields conducted by Sir Neville Mariner and Iona Brown, as well as collaborations with numerous renowned artists and ensembles.

Pepe Romero holds an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Victoria, British Columbia. In June 1996, he received the “Premio Andalucia de Musica” the highest recognition given by his native land for his contributions to the arts. In February 2000, King Juan Carlos of Spain knighted Mr. Romero and his brothers into the Order of “Isabel la Catolica”. The following year “Los Romeros: Royal Family of the Guitar,” a biographical documentary was made by PBS Television.

Come by for a delightful program of classical guitar music on April 21, 2018, 8pm. Get tickets here:

We look forward to seeing you there!

Pre-Concert Talk will be given by: Jonathan Palevsky

Jonathan Palevsky has been with WBJC since 1986 and has been the station’s Program Director since 1990. He is originally from Montreal and came to Baltimore in 1982 to study classical guitar at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. (more at link)

Pre-Concert Speaker: Jonathan Palevsky

— Jonathan Palevsky will be the speaker for the Pre-Concert Talk before the Pepe Romero performance, April 21st, 2018 at 8pm. Tickets:

Jonathan Palevsky has been with WBJC since 1986 and has been the station’s Program Director since 1990. He is originally from Montreal and came to Baltimore in 1982 to study classical guitar at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. On WBJC he is the host of the WBJC Opera preview, the music review program Face the Music, Music in Maryland, and is co-host of Word on Wine.

His current off air obsessions include skiing, playing guitar and being the host of Cinema Sundays at the Charles Theatre. In May, Jonathan and WBJC on-air personality and Operations Manager Kati Harrison celebrated their first wedding anniversary.

SPECIAL: 4-Concert Holiday Series Package

Give the Gift of Music! 🎶

This holiday season, share the joy of classical guitar through concerts with wonderful artists on the John E. Marlow Guitar Series.

Visit to order gift cards or purchase a 4-Concert Series Package to receive a (15% discount)!

Can we tempt you? Or someone you know that loves the classical guitar?

Upcoming Concerts: Ana Vidovic, Łukasz Kuropaczewski, Rhythm Future Quartet, and Pepe Romero!

Master Class: Pepe Romero, Spain

The John E. Marlow Guitar Series’s Outreach Coordinator, João Figueirôa, offered a Master Class with Pepe Romero, Spain, February 22, 2015. Thanks to our friends at the Chevy Chase Village Town Hall, Pepe Romero worked with seven students and many enrapt auditors.

All photos taken by João Figueirôa.

Pepe Romero Master Class - Photo: Joao Figueiroa

Pepe Romero Master Class - Photo: Joao Figueiroa

Pepe Romero Master Class - Photo: Joao Figueiroa

Pepe Romero Master Class - Photo: Joao Figueiroa

Pepe Romero Master Class - Photo: Joao Figueiroa

Pepe Romero Master Class - Photo: Joao Figueiroa

Pepe Romero Master Class - Photo: Joao Figueiroa


Pepe Romero, April 14, 2012

“It’s taken awhile to formulate all the thoughts swirling in my head since Pepe Romero graced the Marlow Guitar Series with the final concert of the 2011-2012 season on April 14.  Pepe packs so much artistry and excellence into his programs it’s just hard to know where to begin, but a few impressions come distinctly to mind when he plays: he is a great lover of his instrument; he should be given the title “Strummer Extraordinaire”; he is a master of contrasts; and, there is no distinction between his body and the guitar – when they sit down together, they are one harmonious, inseparable unit.

All of these descriptions were evident from the moment he opened with Milan’s 16th century Fantasia the delicacy of which summons sublime innocence in a lyrical style that hardly sounds on the cusp of the Baroque; but, there it is, sweetly strolling along like a docile lamb grazing on a bucolic meadow without threat or fear of man or beast. This piece, from the start, communicated that tremendous affection between this eminent artist and the tool of his trade.  He loves every, and I mean every, note like his own child with great adoration.  I couldn’t help but think he must have been from the holy family of the guitar – that he must have been raised by gentle hands and very tender hearts.  He even honored this by playing one of his father’s compositions near the end of the program.  But, before that, in Gaspar Sanz’s, Danzas Espanolas, he demonstrated the inner workings of the great Spanish tradition of simple and accessible melodic lines tweaked with subtle ornamentation always charming, never overdone, flawless, and exceptional in every way.  When little themes echoed each other, as they often do in classical form, there was always a contrast of darkness and light, piano and forté without an obvious “here I’m playing soft folks, and here I’m playing loud…”.  No, Pepe’s approach to contrast is almost imperceptible at times, but never insignificant.

Gran Jota by Tarrega brought such quiet to the house you literally could have heard a pin drop.  With it’s long-scaled runs to its rapid strumming passages, it was a tour de force of the Spanish repertoire.  At one point in this piece the playing was so soft you could see listeners leaning into the sound breathlessly waiting to exhale all the while being transported by those remarkable hands in which we were all held.  Then, the strumming came, OMG, no one strums like this man.  When he runs his fingers across the strings of his instrument you hear every note articulated like it were the one and only out of this wave of gushing sound in the middle of which there are all kinds of other things going on from light percussive taps on the soundboard to awesome arpeggios one on top of the other running up and down the frets with an ease that is almost shameful.

Albeniz’s Leyenda is one of those oft played pieces by guitarists which demonstrates one’s great facility, or not, for non-stop finger work.  Not everyone is so convincing of their abilities but that’ not an issue for Pepe who just confirmed how superior he is to mere mortal performers.  And, for Beatty Guitar Competition 2011 Grand Prize Winner and 2012 Finalist, Katie Cho, who, at the ripe old age of 12, played Leyenda as her opening competition piece back in March, was beaming with pride for being part of that inner Leyenda circle (I can’t help thinking he must have played it for her).

By the time Pepe ended the program with his Father’s Fantasia Cubana, he had taken the audience through five centuries of music that convinced me how likely it would be that we would recognize our ancestors if they returned from the dead.  Despite the hundreds of years gone by, there is still a lot to recognize in the gifts they’ve left us.  The program was a rich history of the Spanish oeuvre, a rare program even for a classical guitar series.  It’s no wonder Carol Marlow turned to me at the reception and, with a fire in her eyes, said, “See!  That’s where classical guitar comes from, it comes from Spain!  So, many young performers forget this!”

She is so right.  It truly was a stellar close to a glorious season and one I hope this listener never forgets.  Look forward to seeing you next season…”

-D. Drayer, Silver Spring, MD