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This Winter, Joshua Roman Plays Own Cello Concerto in Ohio, Mason Bates’s in Fort Worth, and Dvorák’s for Pittsburgh Symphony Debut

When Joshua Roman launched the Illinois Philharmonic’s present season with the world premiere of Awakening, his own first cello concerto and the orchestra’s inaugural commission, the Chicago Classical Review pronounced it “a substantial and compelling work.” Now the cellist-composer offers a second chance to hear his live rendition of the concerto, reuniting with conductor David Danzmayr at the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus, Awakening’s co-commissioner, for performances in Worthington, Columbus, and Athens, Ohio (Jan 23–25). The New Year also brings three further career milestones for Roman, who makes his Pittsburgh Symphony debut playing Dvorák’s concerto on a special Valentine’s Day program led by Juraj Valcuha (Feb 12 & 14); gives the Texas premiere of Mason Bates’s Cello Concerto with the Fort Worth Symphony and Miguel Harth-Bedoya (Jan 8–10); and, as Artistic Director of Seattle’s TownMusic series, conducts soprano Jessica Rivera in we do it to one another, his own song cycle based on Tracy K. Smith’s Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection, Life on Mars (Feb 25). As the Examiner recently put it, “Roman has gotten beyond the ‘rising artist’ stage. His star has definitely risen.

It is rare today to find an artist like Roman, who – recognizing that “classical is a tradition of creativity and innovation” – is as accomplished a composer as he is a performer. Calling him “a switched-on, tuned-in classical musician of the early 21st century,” the Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein explains,

“The centuries-old tradition of the composer-performer has pretty much fallen by the wayside in our increasingly specialized classical music era. … The burgeoning dual career of Joshua Roman triumphantly defies that trend.”

Of his cello concerto, Roman says: “The work centers on an evolution of an idea and is the story of a failed relationship. The cello represents the protagonist.Awakening proved a success at its fall premiere, when the Chicago Classical Review observed: “Skillfully varied with an attractive vein of lyricism, the composer maintains interest throughout the concerto’s contrasted sections.

The cellist has scored similar triumphs with Mason Bates’s Cello Concerto, of which he is the dedicatee. Having given its “world-class world premiere” (Seattle Times) with the Seattle Symphony last season, Roman recently gave its first Oklahoma performances with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. According to the Oklahoman,

“The work’s dedicatee proved to be a real champion of this contemporary piece, one that is destined to become a repertory staple. … Roman’s persuasive playing ably captured the finale’s jaunty nature, a lilting quality that was infectious.”

As the review concluded, “His encore, a slyly humorous work titled Julie-O, further cemented Roman’s reputation as one of classical music’s most intriguing stars.

High-resolution photos can be downloaded here.

Joshua Roman: upcoming engagements

Jan 8-10
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra / Miguel Harth-Bedoya
Mason Bates: Cello Concerto (regional premiere)

Jan 23–25
ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus / David Danzmayr
Joshua Roman: Cello Concerto (Awakening)
Jan 23: Worthington, OH
Jan 24: Columbus, OH
Jan 25: Athens, OH

Feb 12 & 14
Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (debut) / Juraj Valcuha
Dvorák: Cello Concerto

Feb 25
Seattle, WA
Town Hall Seattle
Joshua Roman: we do it to one another

March 5
Summit, NJ
Solo Bach recital (Café Concert)

March 6
Chatham Township, NJ
Lyrica Chamber Music
Solo Bach recital

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© 21C Media Group, December 2015

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