Coming from a family of Cuban musicians, Zenaida Romeu studied piano, choral direction with Agnes Kralovszky and orchestral conducting with Gonzalo Romeu and was the first woman to graduate with Orchestral Direction at the Higher Institute of Art of Cuba in 1983. She received master classes with professors Olaf Koch and Gert Frishmuth in Cuba and Germany.
Romeu combined her artistic with teaching activities and gave master classes in choral and orchestral conducting as well as lectures on Cuban music in Spain, Mexico and the US. She has also presented the “Other Times” program about music on Cuban TV .
In 1982, she founded the “Cohesion” chamber choir, her first artistic project which renewed the Cuban choral movement; implemented throughout the island.
In 1989 as part of the theater company Estudio Lírico she was the Assistant Orchestra Director of Gonzalo Romeu, obtaining great recognition in Cuba and abroad. For several seasons Romeu also conducted operettas for the Bellini Theater company from Naples, touring throughout all Italy.
In 1990 she moved to Spain to give master classes in Choral Direction in Vigo. She then returned to Cuba and founded the chamber string orchestra Camerata Romeu in 1993 under the sponsorship of the Pablo Milanés Foundation, conceived in an unusual way for those times by focusing on the recognition and promotion of Cuban and Latin American music with a new scenic image, new repertoire and playing by heart.
In 1994 the Historian of the City of Havana awarded the young Camerata Romeu the Minor Basilica of San Francisco de Asís as its headquarters, In this scenario Zenaida Romeu has welcomed great composers, soloists, groups and orchestra directors to work with the orchestra within Cuba as well as overseas.
She has directed all the Cuban orchestras, was guest conductor of the National Philharmonic of Cuba, founder of the Orchestra of the Higher Institute of Art and also directed the Bard University Orchestra and the Winston Salem Youth Orchestra in North Carolina. She has conducted symphony orchestras not only in Cuba but also in the US, Nicaragua, and Canada. She has accompanied important Cuban soloists and international figures such as Michel Legrand, Egberto Gismonti, Horacio Franco, Ben Sung, Ernan and Harold Lopez-Nussa, Gonzalo Romeu, Barbara Hendricks, Arve Tellefsen, Øyvind Gimse, Joao Donato, Swami Jr., Maurizio D’Alessandro, Carlos Reyes, PollyaFerman, Antonio Peruch, Serranito, Gerardo di Giusto, Omara Portuondo and Arturo O’Farrill among others.
She has worked as a musical director for animated films such as The Ugly and The Moon in the Garden by filmmakers Yemely Cruz and Adanoe Lima, The Annunciation by Enrique Pineda Barnet, The Skinny Award and Chamaco by Juan Carlos Cremata, Sold by Jorge Perrugorría and Boccacherias by Arturo Sotto.
She has received dozens of awards like the Cubadisco award (several times), the Marseille Medal, the Philadelphia Bell, a diploma as Illustrious Guest of the City of Los Angles and Havana, the Giraldilla, Awards Lucas, CubaDisco Honor Award, and the Order for Cuban Culture and was tweice nominated for the Latin Grammy.