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Spothlight San Diego Arts


December 16, 1987|KENNETH HERMAN

Never afraid of overexposure, pianist Gustavo Romero has booked two solo recitals next month at downtown San Diego churches. His Jan. 8 recital at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral was announced last week, much to the consternation of the concert committee of the First Presbyterian Church.

Along with violinist Frank Almond Jr., the rising young pianist from Chula Vista performed to an SRO audience at First Presbyterian in January, 1987. Shortly after that joint recital, First Presbyterian booked his return solo engagement on Jan. 17, 1988.

"Obviously, this is going to hold down our audience," said George Hardy, chairman of the Presbyterian concert committee. "But it could also hurt St. Paul's, since our program is a free-will offering and theirs requests a $10 donation." The St. Paul recital is a benefit program for the cathedral's organ completion fund.

Speaking for the cathedral, Margaret Gooding noted that Romero would play a different program at each church. "He has a tremendous following," added Gooding. "And it's not that often that people get to hear a recital of his caliber."

Between these two church recitals, Romero will be hobnobbing with patrons who sign up for the La Jolla Chamber Music Society's April 11-day luxury cruise. Romero will give four recitals over the course of the cruise through the Panama Canal from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Acapulco. On Jan. 13, he will meet cruise patrons at the San Diego Women's Club for a reception and private concert.

- Capitalizing on the coincidence of Beethoven's birthday and the first day of Hanukkah today, classical cellist Ron Robboy and his nine-member Jewish orchestra will perform a holiday concert at the La Paloma Theater in Encinitas. Honoring the Beethoven connection, Robboy will beef up his ensemble with additional violins.

What Robboy calls his holiday meshugas (Yiddish for craziness) will feature popular music from the Yiddish stage, including singer Debbie Davis singing an authentic Yiddish tango composed by Molly Picon. According to Robboy, "Buenos Aires was a great center of the Yiddish-speaking theater in the 1920s and '30s. So it's not surprising that tangos became part of the Yiddish vaudeville tradition."

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