Elena Romero's Piano Music: A Woman's View of Spain
Dr. Maria Jose Martin.
Granados, Albeniz, and Falla are the composers that first come to mind when we think about Spanish music at the turn of the century. All Spanish composers in the twentieth century have been influenced by their music legacy. Elena Romero (1907 - 1995) inherited the Spanish “flavor”, especially from her composition teacher Joaquin Turina, to create a very distinctive compositional style in which the nationalist elements blend with Impressionist and Expressionist qualities. The purpose of this lecture-recital is to analyze Elena Romero’s music in the context of a very turbulent, rebellious life. Even though she wrote orchestral and theatrical music, vocal music, and music for different solo instruments, I will focus in her piano music.
In this lecture I will provide biographical information on the composer, paying special attention to her extensive education (unusual for a woman at her time). She studied piano with Maestro P. Marshall and composition with Ricardo Lamote de Grignon in Barcelona. Later Romero took composition lessons from Turina and conducting from Ataulfo Argenta in Madrid. She expanded her musical studies in Germany and France. During her lifetime, Elena Romero earned distinction in many arenas. She was the first woman in Spain to conduct symphony orchestras, such as the Orquesta de Radio Nacional and the Sinfonica de Barcelona. She was also a prolific composer and a brilliant pianist, who toured Spain and Europe. Elena Romero got the Pedrell Award for her ballet Titeres and the B.B.C. awarded her a prize for Ensayo para Orquesta sobre dos Canciones Sudafricanas.
Dr. Maria Jose Martin (United States)
Arts and Science Department
Born in San Sebastian, Spain, she studied at the Real Conservatorio de Música in Madrid as well as in Salamanca, where she earned ear-training and End-of-Degree Piano awards. She received a degree in English Philology (literature and linguistics) from the Universidad de Salamanca. She continued her studies in the United States, completing her Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in piano performance at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music.
She has performed in both solo and chamber recitals in Spain, Germany, Austria, and in the United States. Her many recital appearances include performances at the Círculo de Bellas Artes and Museo del Prado in Madrid, and at the Universidad Pontificia in Salamanca.
Her interest in Spanish women composers has led her to research and perform the music of such composers as María Luisa Ozaita and Merce Torrents. She has premiered the works of Elena Romero in recitals and national broadcasts in Madrid and has been invited to return next season.
A major advocate of contemporary music, she has premiered and recorded numerous instrumental chamber pieces, and has worked closely with composers Arcangel Castillo, Xin Ping, and William Bolcom.
She performs actively in a piano duo with American pianist Christopher Bradshaw. They recently were invited to perform in Germany and Spain and to participate in the master classes with Joseph Paratore of the Paratore Piano duo team in Salzburg. In 1997 they won the second prize in the international competition Ciudad San Sebastián. In 2000 they performed with The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia and at Steinway Hall in New York.
Formerly faculty at West Chester University and at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, she is currently faculty in the Arts and Science department at Neumann College, PA. December, 2002 she was invited to give a piano Master class at the Kasetsart University in Bangkok. This year Martin presented the lectures entitled Diversity of Music in a Diverse World, at the Third International Conference on Diversity in organizations, Communities and Nations held at the University of Hawaii, and The World of Musical Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction at the International Humanities Conference in Rhodes, Greece.
Person as Subject
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)