Manly Romero’s works have been praised as “lively, rhythmic and punchy,” with a “personal voice” that is “quirky and decidedly effective.” Songs, chamber and orchestral music and a full-length opera make up Romero’s catalog, music inspired by his personal heritage (his father, a Latino artist, his mother an amateur opera singer) and demonstrating a distinctive approach to combining traditional and cutting edge aesthetics.
After receiving a bassoon performance diploma from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), upon which instrument he performed as principal with area orchestras and as soloist in the Mozart concerto at Davies Symphony Hall, Manly Romero turned his focus to composition and orchestration. Bachelor’s studies at SFCM with David Conte and Conrad Susa led to his first serious compositions, including Concertino for Violin and Orchestra, premiered by Artea, and The Legend of Chang’Er, premiered by the San Francisco Symphony. Romero assisted Susa with the orchestration of the older composer’s “The Dangerous Liaisons,” premiered by the San Francisco Opera, and also orchestrated for the San Francisco Ballet.
Under the mentorship of William Albright, Michael Daugherty, Susan Botti, Betsy Jolas, and particularly William Bolcom, at the University of Michigan, Romero completed a DMA while composing orchestral works such as Spirals (recorded on the Klavier Gold label and available from Amazon.com); Cortège; Blanco, Azul, Rojo; and his opera, Dreaming of Wonderland. These compositions garnered awards and commissions from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, American Composers’ Orchestra, The Ragdale Foundation, American Music Center, San Francisco Camerata Americana, NYFA, and most recently the Hoeffer Commission from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Orchestrations for classical orchestra and wind ensemble were made for David Conte (“The Dreamers,” “A Copland Portrait,” and William Bolcom (“Concert Piece” for saxophone and wind ensemble, “Song” for band).
Romero serves as Artistic Director for the New York City-based composers’ collective Random Access Music (RAM), of which he has been a member since 2006.
Romero’s compositions have been performed by the San Francisco Symphony, New York City Opera, the Memphis Symphony, American Composers’ Orchestra, San Francisco Camerata Americana, Artea, City Winds, the Alban Duo, Quintessence, Ursula’s End, Lost Dog, Round Rock Symphony, New Music Works, and many others.
The 2010-11 season included the premiere of Doppelgänger (a quadruple concerto for 2 solo trumpets, 2 solo violins and double ensemble) and a week-long residency at SFCM; the premiere of El jardín del Eden, a concerto grosso for oboe, English horn, and strings; and participation in a “Presidential conversation” with Robert Sirota, president of Manhattan School of Music, prior to a performance by MSM’s Tactus Ensemble of Romero’s “Miniaturization.”
Forthcoming events in the 2011-12 season include premieres of chamber works in collaboration with Jessica Mathaes (concert master of the Austin Symphony Orchestra www.jessicamathaes.com) and Cadillac Moon Ensemble (www.cadillacmoonensemble.com), and presentation of selections from “Dreaming of Wonderland.”