Classical guitarist Angel Romero and the Aeolus Quartet brought more than just classical music during their stop in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Dec. 12 — they brought an unforgettable evening of world-class talent accompanied with an unexpected dose of humor.
The concert was held at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts as part of the venue’s Discovery Series, which takes audiences on an artistic journey around the globe, in this case, Spain.
Romero took command of the stage with tremendous charisma and a surprisingly relaxed look for a classical music concert — blue jeans and a striped, long-sleeve button-up shirt.
“All these wrinkles are designer’s,” Romero said as the audience laughed along with him. He experienced a mishap during airline travel and wasn’t able to get his luggage on time, but was undeterred. As a matter of fact, his casual appearance and attitude made for an even more enjoyable and relaxed environment, making the concert feel more like an intimate gathering at someone’s home.
“The best thing about it is that no matter what you wear the music still sounds the same. I could come out in my robe,” he said laughing. “I’m a symphony director and have conducted in Berlin and Chicago, and it upsets me when people think, ‘Oh, I’m going to play Bach, I have to be serious.’”
The program consisted of Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Major, RV 93; Luigi Boccherini’s Quintet No. 9 in C Major G. 453 (La Ritirata di Madrid); an intermission; Erwin Schulhoff’s Five Pieces for String Quartet; and more. Hearing this music performed with such ebullience was like listening to the soundtrack of your favorite movie.
Dynamics between Romero and the Aeolus Quartet — some of the finest young string quartets performing today — were nothing short of exquisite. Violinists Nicholas Tavani and Rachel Shapiro, violist Gregory Luce and cellist Alan Richardson had so much passion and excitement it was hard for them to sit still on their chair. Romero plays with such grace and elegance it’s almost as though he’s dancing tango with his guitar. They are all in love with their craft, and it’s very evident.
It’s worth noting that after the intermission, the members of the Aeolus Quartet came on stage dressed down in casual attire to make their Peer feel comfortable, which in turn made the audience grin. “When you can learn from the best, do it,” said Luce of Romero. At that point, however, Romero managed to get his hands on a black suit.
All in all, this was an electrifying night with some of the finest musicians of our time. If Romero or the Aeolus Quartet stop by your area, be sure to check them out for a riveting night of classical music with a refreshing twist.
For more information, visit www.angelromero.com and aeolusquartet.com.