Referring to the Romeros Quartet in a review appearing in the New York Times, a critic wrote: "One of them is possibly the best classical guitarist in the world. The question is: 'Which one?' "
A Ventura County audience will have the opportunity to answer that question when the Romeros (Celedonio and his three sons--Pepe, Celin and Angel) perform in Thousand Oaks at 6 p.m. Saturday. It will be the kickoff concert of the eighth annual Oakleaf Music Festival.
According to Susan Holt, who has been festival manager for the last four years, the Romeros have a well-deserved international reputation. To have four virtuosos in one family is rare; to have all four playing the classical guitar is unprecedented.
The family's history as a musical entity is also unusual.
The elder Romero was a guitar soloist in Franco's Spain. Each son began studying guitar with his father at the age of 3; each made his musical debut in Spain by the time he was 7. When they arrived in the United States in 1958, the boys, then still in their teens, began to perform as a quartet with their father.
The Romeros have appeared with virtually every major symphony orchestra in the United States; they have performed at the White House, at the Vatican for Pope John Paul II and have given a command performance before Prince Charles of Britain.
In addition, the Romeros have captivated audiences at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Hollywood Bowl and Wolf Trap. In 1987, they gave 40 concerts throughout Europe and the Orient. They have been seen on the "Today" and "Tonight" shows, as well as on telecasts with the Boston Pops.
Holt says the festival committee is delighted to have the Romeros as guest artists. "We always look for artists who have wide public acceptance," she said, citing diverse past performers such as Shirley Jones and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. She says the community's response to the Romeros will be "as enthusiastic as it has been for all the other artists throughout the years."
"The festival has grown each year, with increased attendance, not only from all parts of Ventura County, but also from the San Fernando Valley and Los Angeles," she said.
* THE DETAILS: Eighth Annual Oakleaf Music Festival schedule:
* The Romeros Quartet will perform at 6 p.m. Saturday.
* "Jazz Magic," spotlighting vibraphonist Terry Gibbs and clarinetist Buddy de Franco, will be at 1 p.m. Sunday.
* "Hooray for Hollywood," a medley of music from movies and television shows, will be conducted by Bill Conti at 6 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets for each concert are $8, and a series ticket may be purchased for $21. From 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, an Arts and Crafts Faire will be held on the festival grounds. Admission is free to ticket holders.
For information about the festival, call 499-4357.