Conversations with Paul, Part One

In the words of the late Karl Haas:
“Hello Everyone!”
To celebrate the re-instatement of my website, I’d like to introduce you to one of my favorite people, pianist and composer Paul Romero. Enjoy, and let’s hope that the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico will also soon be fixed.
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Paul Romero

Last month, my talented student Susan (a rising sophomore at Bryn Mawr College) said she wanted to learn the rest of the Grieg Concerto, but she was going home to L.A. for the summer, and she didn’t know whom to study with.

“I know just the right person,” I said.

That person is a marvelous pianist who befriended me when my husband and I moved from Ohio to Los Angeles over a decade ago. I didn’t know a musical soul when we arrived. One afternoon, as I pushed my little girl in a stroller along the dusty road of my sister’s mountainous, bohemian neighborhood, I heard the thunderous sounds of a Fledermaus transcription shake the walls of a ranch house we were passing.

“A concert pianist lives in that house,” I told my sister, and I went to investigate.

That’s how I met Paul Romero and his partner, psychiatrist and saxophonist Brock Summers. Paul was immediately impressed that I had studied with Earl Wild for many years and made me sit down to play. Shortly thereafter, he invited me to perform at one of his and Brock’s extravagant musicales. Imagine a hundred or so people crowded into a small but elegant living room with a Steinway grand, and people precariously packed onto a balcony that looks out onto the San Gabriel mountains. Imagine a wide array of performers, from cellists to pianists to singers, performing classical to jazz to Tom Lehrer witticisms, with Paul enthusiastically em-ceeing from the microphone. A happier scene could not be produced by Hollywood.

Paul’s own playing impressed me as well, because of his warmth of tone and expressive lyricism. His singing lines linger in the ear long after the last note dies away.

I knew he would be a perfect teacher for Susan, and I am happy to report that they have hit it off marvelously.

Catching up with Paul over the phone, I’ve learned that he is performing concerts in venues that interest him, and that he’s devoting much of his time to his composing career. He is completing the scoring for the 130th soundtrack of his “Heroes of Might and Magic” series, and has been commissioned to write a symphony based on the motifs he’s composed for this wildly successful video game.

Paul has no doubt carved out one of the more interesting careers of a Curtis Institute of Music alumnus.

Writing this now, I remember his reassurances when I was about to move from L.A. to the Main Line of Philadelphia.

“When I was at Curtis, I had a part-time job working for a florist,” he said. “We used to deliver to the Main Line. It was unbelievably green there with a canopy of thick, old trees. You’ll like it.”

He was right; it turned out to be a good move for us. But I’m glad to re-connect with a great talent from my California past, and I promise more “Conversations with Paul” in weeks to come.

There are 5 responses to “Conversations with Paul, Part One”

  1. Glad to see the site’s finally back up!

  2. Paul and Brock’s musicales sound so cool…wish I had been old enough back then to come along!

  3. Deb, I love it how you just follow your musical nose and meet all these fascinating people. It is so exciting! You’re like a fox terrier on a hunt. Love it! xx.

  4. WHAT A WONDERFUL STORY! I WAS SO CAUGHT UP IN THIS PERFECTLY-DESCRIBED DEPICTION OF HOW OUR TWO LIVES INTERVENED THAT I ALMOST FORGOT THAT IT WAS ABOUT MY OWN LIFE! THANK YOU FOR SUCH A BEAUTIFUL ENTRY AND CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR ABILITY TO CONVEY YOUR EXPERIENCES WITH SUCH VIVID AND WARM DESCRIPTIONS. YOUR WRITING PRACTICALLY TRANSPORTED ME BACK TO THAT MOMENT IN TIME AS IF IT WERE YESTERDAY! LOVED IT!

    PAUL

  5. So gladwyneee to see you back on-line :-)