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Musical World

Joshua Roman

  • Cellist


Joshua Roman press reviews

“His interpretation of the challenging second movement, “Adagio, molto sostenuto,” was exquisite, with nuanced phrasing and sonority”

—The Columbus Dispatch, April 2010 [Lynn Green]

“The soloist was Joshua Roman, a cellist of extraordinary technical and musical gifts. His Symphony debut, in fact, was so striking in so many ways that it left a listener eager for something more. Roman coaxes sounds of remarkable beauty from his instrument … It’s rare to hear a cellist tear through this high-flying passagework so beautifully and precisely – with never a note out of tune or out of place – and rarer still to hear it done with such offhanded panache.”

—San Francisco Chronicle, February 2010 [Joshua Kosman]

“He is a rangy, curly-headed musician who towers over the instrument even as he draws ample poetry from its strings.”

—The Plain Dealer, November 2008 [Donald Rosenberg]

“A musician of imagination and expressive breadth.”

—Seattle Post-Intelligencer, May 2009 [Louise Lee]

“While he can throw off fireworks like any whiz-bang young soloist, Roman is essentially a thoughtful, thought-provoking and lyrical player.”

—TheGatheringNote, May 2009 [Philippa Kiraly]

“[This] classical rock star has no intention of being an actual rock star, but there’s little doubt that he’s a new kind of classical star.”

—Lexington Herald-Leader, October 2009 [Rich Copley]

“[For the premiere of his Cello Concerto] David Stock … was lucky, too, to have popular cellist Joshua Roman on hand, who can not only play anything but sell anything; the long cadenza, with his agile left hand scampering spider-like up and down the instrument, was electrifying.”

—Seattle Weekly, June 2009 + December 2009, Moments to Remember [Gavin Borchert]

“An understated rock star… Mr. Roman took the stage with a masterful performance of Antonin Dvorák’s Cello Concerto… His unquestionable stage presence did not take precedence over his prodigious talent.”

—Entertainment News NW, July 2009 [Christopher Key]

“Roman’s virtuosic technique and quiet intensity illuminated this difficult piece [George Crumb’s Sonata for Solo Cello] from within, so that its disconnected tones and textures became a thing of beauty. Roman transformed a lengthy pizzicato sequence into a cascade of popping bubbles and drew tones from his cello that seemed like shafts of light.”

—Seattle Times, October 2008 [Sumi Hahn]

“A performer as charismatic as he is technically and musically talented, he played John Tavener’s The Protecting Veil on this occasion as wonderfully as ever, with commandingly incisive phrasing, and a tone that never lost focus or emotional power in the 45-minute work’s almost unrelievedly high solo register.”

—MusicWeb International, March 2008 [Bernard Jacobson]

“TownMusic, Town Hall’s classical music series, found a good thing in Joshua Roman: a young artistic director whose main concern in life is moving forward, and taking along any audience willing to share the ride.”

—Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, 2009 [Steve Wieckling]

“Another surprise was cello soloist Joshua Roman in Peter Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme. Roman has the reputation of being the rock star of modern-day stringers, but he won over the audience with boyish charm instead. He took what is a full-blown cello concerto and made it child’s play. Same with his solo encore, Mark Summer’s Julie-O, which made whimsical fun out of blues smears and bluegrass licks.”

—, October 2009 [Loren Tice]

“Roman’s solo part [in David Stock’s Cello Concerto] was an impressive display, particularly the long cadenza that bridges the second and third movements. His left hand became a manic spider and then climbed up into high, micro-thin harmonics. The plaintive, spiritual lines that dominate the finale (the composer quotes from liturgical music from Jewish high holy days) gave a deep, satisfying ending to the whole affair.”

—Seattle Times, June 2009 [John Sutherland]

“If ever a 25-year-old man could convincingly be the mouthpiece of the Mother of God, Joshua Roman is he. The former Seattle Symphony principal, now launched on a solo career, not only showed enormous capability for tone and technique but infused the stage with a halo of perfect calm that lifted [John Taverner’s Protecting Veil] … into a highly spiritual realm. Roman’s tone Saturday night was nothing short of vocal … [he] handled all technical tricks with ease, possessing the piece with a yogic calm that echoed the heavenly stillness of the main melody. Mary’s lament for her Son on the cross was breathtaking, Roman’s bow dancing over the strings like a swallow through the chromatic Byzantine tonality … As the solo line ran out to its final, incredibly high vanishing point, the audience sat spellbound.”

—The News Tribune, Tacoma, WA, March 2009 [Rosemary Ponnekanti]