New album by the all-female Cuban string ensemble Camerata Romeu and its director Zeniada Romeu with stunning interpretations of compositions by Astor Piazolla, Jose White, Moises Simons, Publio Medina and more.
Belonging to the third generation of a family of remarkable Cuban musicians, Zeniada Romeu became the first woman to graduate with Gonzalo Romeu as Orchestra Conductor at the Higher Institute of Art of Cuba in 1982. She attended master classes with professors Koch and Gert Frischmuth in Cuba and Germany, and after a decade conducting large symphonic orchestras and choirs in Spain and Cuba, she founded the Camerata Romeu in 1993. The all-female string orchestra (under the sponsorship of the Pablo Milan s Foundation) follows a very unique concept by focusing its repertoire on Cuban and Latin American composers and has been interpreting or accompanying artists such as Egberto Gismonti, Horacio Franco, Ben Sung, Eman and Harold Lopez-Nussa, Gonzalo Romeu, but also performed with international musicians like the opera singer Barbara Hendricks or the swedish violinist Arve Tellefsen. In 1994, the Historian of the City of Havana, Don Eusebio Leal, allowed the orchestra to use the Minor Basilica of San Francisco de As s as permanent headquarters - a unmistakeable proof of the high respect and reputation the ensemble has been enjoying in its Cuban home right from the start. So far, Zeniada Romeu and her ensemble have released 19 albums and won several Cubadisco awards including the Cuba Disco Honor Award, the Order for Cuban Culture plus international prizes like the Marseille Medal, the Philadelphia Bell, a diploma as Illustrious Guest of the City of Los Angeles and Havana, the Giraldilla, Awards Lucas and have been nominated two times for the Latin Grammy.
The new album “La Bella Habana”, celebratring Havana’s 500th anniversary this year, is once more a vital document of Camerata Romeu’s unique and fresh approach towards classical music - skilled instrumentalists, joyful interpretations and performances that go way beyond the regular classical concert.
Jose White, transcr. Zeniada Romeu: La Bella Cubana
Moises Simmons, transcr. A. Ramirez: Chivo Que Rompe Tambo
Publio Medina, transcr. Y. Cobo: Cuan Hermosa Naturaleza
Astor Piazzolla, transcr. Y. Cobo: Libertango
Eduardo Gamboa: Canambu
Guido Lopez-Gavilán: Camerata en Guaguanco
Carlos Fariñas: Final Obligado
Ricardo Herz: Gil Y Hamilton
Guido Lopez-Gavilán, M. Romeu & Jose White: La Bella Habana
Founded in Havana in 1993 by its director Zenaida Romeu, Camerata Romeu is a feminine chamber orchestra considered as unique thanks to its repertoire and stage presence. Its aesthetic is based on the recognition and promotion of the musical production values of our Latin American composers, a new sound born in the Americas.
The best composers from Cuba, Latin America and North America have written works that have been released on several CDs such as La Bella Cubana (Chamber Music Award and Critics Award), Cuba Mia, Dance of the Witches, Tampa Habana Oslo, Raigal (Cubadisco Award) and Non Divisi with compositions by Roberto Valera (Latin Grammy nomination). For the French label Manana Music they recorded the Habanera with works by Gerardo di Giusto (Cubadisco Award). The album Sertoes Veredas presents works of the Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti, produced by ECM the first recording in the history of that German label that promotes and commercializes music recorded by a Latin American orchestra.
Camerata has joined record productions, for example Sueños de Ida y Vuelta with Victor Monge (Serranito) which was nominated for the Latin Grammy, Habaneras de Cádiz with Carlos Cano, La Rumba soy yo (Vol. II), Cervantes Cuatro Pianos, (Cubadisco Award), Music of the World (1999), The Island of Music, Future Logos with Antonio Peruch (Prize of the disc in Egmonton), Cyrus, Harp of the World with Carlos Kings, Lewis Music and more. Camerata Romeu’s discography so far: La Bella Cubana, (Cuba Disco Award) Cuba Mia, Dance of the Witches, Non Divisi, (nominated for the Latin Grammys) Raigal, (Cuba Disco Award), Havana-Tampa-Oslo, Saudacoes, and Habanera. They also recorded soundtracks for cartoons and feature films that gained high recognition.
The wide spectrum of the ensemble’s repertoire has inspired and influenced a big number of younger musicians. Camerata Romeu has participated in many international music festivals and concert tours, appearing not only in great venues, but also in the most prestigious universities not only in Cuba but also in Spain, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, France, Mexico, Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil and the USA and more.
Its works have been recorded in the multimedia Concierto del Norte, with Norwegian music by Bis Music and Himno Bayamés, Parafrasis, based on the Cuban National Anthem produced by the Office of the Historian of Havana. The orchestra has been featured in several documentaries like Amor y Magia (1997) by Eva Maura Díaz, Cuerdas de mi Ciudad (1998) by Mayra Vilasís and Cuba Mia. Portrait of a women’s orchestra (2002) by Cecilia Domeyko, promoted by PBS and in Art channel around the world. Since 12994, the Camerata Romeu has been residing at the Minor Basilica of San Francisco of Asís in Old Havana.
Violin 1: Anabel Estevez Acosta (Concertino), Amelia Febles Díaz, Noelia María García Olivera, Gabriela Iglesias Barrientos, Liliet Silva Carmenates
Violin 2: Camila Martel Pérez (Principal), Adria Gómez Báez, Maite Gómez Estevez, Eumerys Abreu Rivero, Marian Del Rosaria Piñeiro Padilla
Viola: Lizbet Sevila Brizuela (Principal), Juliet Concepción Pérez, María Luisa Rodruíguez Martín, Leidy Laura Díaz Barrios
Cello: María Carla LLera Soler (Principal), Mara Mercedes Navas García, Daniela Valverde Gámez
Contrabass: Caridad Zaldivia Lores
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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.
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