The all-female chamber orchestra, Camerata Romeu, was founded in Havana in 1993 by director Zenaida Romeu, with support from the Pablo Milanés Foundation. With a core mission to promote the music and musical values of Latin American composers, Camerata Romeu combines a Central European string sound with its original repertoire and performance style to create something which is unique and particular to the Americas.
The orchestra has been involved in many award-winning performances and recordings of works by the best composers from Cuba, Latin America and North America, but it also explores the classical repertoire of the string orchestra, providing a broad-spectrum of repertoire from the Baroque to the Rumba. Camerata Romeu has also provided a valuable opportunity for training and launching dozens of young musicians into the orchestral profession and many are now part of important orchestras in Cuba and all over the world. In 2020, Camerata Romeu was selected to participate as a headline group at Classical Next.
Since 1994, Camerata Romeu’s home has been in the Minor Basilica of San Francisco of Asís in Old Havana, but in the 25 years since its foundation, it has participated in many international music festivals and numerous concert tours, appearing not only in great venues, but also in the most prestigious universities both in Cuba and Spain, as well as Sweden, Norway, Belgium, France, Mexico, Canada, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil and the United States.
The album Sertoes Veredas which showcases the Brazilian composer Egberto Gismonti and which the orchestra recorded on the German ECM label was the first recording for the label which promotes and commercialises music recorded by a Latin American, Cuban and women’s orchestra. The group has recorded for the Bis and Colibri labels: La Bella Cubana, (Chamber Music Award and Critics Award), Cuba Mia, Dance of the Witches, Tampa Habana Oslo, Raigal, (Cubadisco Award) and Non Divisi as well as a specialist recording of the music of Latin Grammy nominee, Roberto Valera. With the French label Manana Music, Camerata Romeu recorded Habanera by Gerardo di Giusto (Cubadisco Award) and the group has gained recognition for its recordings of soundtracks for several cartoons and feature films by important filmmakers from Cuba and Mexico.
Camerata Romeu has also been recorded in multimedia: Concierto del Norte: Norwegian music produced by Bis Music and Himno Bayamés, Parafrasis, based on the Cuban National Anthem and produced by the Office of the Historian of Havana. The orchestra has been featured in several documentaries showcasing their professional work, among them: Amor y Magia (1997) by Eva Maura Díaz; Cuerdas de mi Ciudad (1998) by Mayra Vilasís and Cuba Mia: Portrait of a women’s orchestra (2002) by Cecilia Domeyko which is currently promoted by PBS and can be found on arts channels around the world.