Cellist, composer and curator Joshua Roman is guest soloist at the Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) premiere of Mason Bates’ Cello Concerto on season opening concerts Sept 15 & 16 led by Music Director Andrew Grams. The concerto combines classical lyricism and melody with blues, jazz and techno rhythms. In the final movement, Roman even uses a guitar pick, sounding more like a punk rock bassist. The concerts also feature musical favorites Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite (1919), Debussy’s famous Clair de Lune and Chopin’s Grande Valse Brillante. Free ESO Listeners Clubs will be held Wednesday, September 12 that discuss the upcoming concert program. Led by music lecturer, composer, and radio personality Jim Kendros, Listeners Clubs are free discussions that take place the Wednesday before ESO Classics Series concert weekends at Greenfields of Geneva, 10:30 am, and the Gail Borden Public Library at 1 pm. Andrew Grams will present a pre-concert chat one hour before each performance. Saturday concertgoers are invited after the show to Mingle with the Musicians at Dream Hall, 51 South Grove Ave., Elgin. Concert sponsors are Hydrox, Quintessential Barrington and Barrington’s White House. Tickets start at $30. Student tickets are $11. Valet or free parking. For more information, visit ElginSymphony.Org or 847-888-4000.
Joshua Roman has earned an international reputation for his wide-ranging repertoire, a commitment to communicating the essence of music in visionary ways, artistic leadership and versatility. As well as being a celebrated performer, he is recognized as an accomplished composer and curator, and was named a TED Senior Fellow in 2015.
Recent seasons have seen Roman premiere Awakening, his own Cello Concerto, with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, and subsequently perform it with ProMusica Chamber Orchestra; make his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra playing Dvořák’s Cello Concerto; give a solo performance on the TED2015 main stage; perform a program of chamber works by Lera Auerbach at San Francisco Performances with Auerbach and violinist Philippe Quint; and make appearances with the Columbus, Fort Worth, New World, Seattle Symphonies as well as with the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. He also served as Alumnus-in-Residence at the prestigious Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara.
Roman has demonstrated inspirational artistic leadership throughout his career. As Artistic Director of TownMusic in Seattle he has showcased his own eclectic musical influences and chamber music favorites, while also promoting newly commissioned works. Under his direction, the series has offered world premieres of compositions by some of today’s brightest young composers and performances by cutting-edge ensembles.
Roman’s adventurous spirit has led to collaborations with artists outside the music community, including his co-creation of “On Grace” with Tony Award-nominated actress Anna Deavere Smith, a work for actor and cello which premiered in February 2012 at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral. His outreach endeavors have taken him to Uganda with his violin-playing siblings, where they played chamber music in schools, HIV/AIDS centers and displacement camps, communicating a message of hope through music.
A native of Oklahoma City, Roman began playing the cello at the age of three on a quarter-size instrument, and gave his first public recital at age ten. Home-schooled until he was 16, he then pursued his musical studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Richard Aaron. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Cello Performance in 2004, and his Master’s in 2005, as a student of Desmond Hoebig, former principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra. Roman is grateful for the loan of an 1899 cello by Giulio Degani of Venice.
Andrew Hilary Grams became music director of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra in June 2013 after an international search. A graduate of the Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute of Music, he holds degrees in violin performance and conducting and has appeared with many of the great orchestras of the world. Grams was a protégé of Franz Welser-Möst and served as assistant conductor for the Cleveland Orchestra for three years. Named 2015 Conductor of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras, his charismatic conducting and easy accessibility have made him a favorite of Elgin Symphony audiences. He has extended his contract with the ESO through 2021. To learn more about Andrew Grams, visit andrewgrams.com, @andrewhgrams on Instagram, and @AndrewHilaryGrams on Facebook.
Now in its 68th season, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) offers programming unmatched for an entertaining, informative and relaxing cultural experience. The ESO’s won Illinois Professional Orchestra of the Year a record-setting four times – in 1988, 1999, 2005 and 2016. The ESO strives to create an enjoyable entertainment experience that goes beyond the magnificent music performed by some of the best musicians in the country. There is accessible, free parking around the Hemmens Cultural Center and valet service available. The festive concert event often features musicians performing in the lobby before concerts, and patrons can purchase unique, music-themed gifts at the Elgin Symphony League Boutique. Pre-concert chats are given by music director Andrew Grams, guest artists and others one hour before most performances. Saturday night patrons are invited after concerts to meet Andrew Grams, guest artists and ESO musicians at Mingle with the Musicians, held at area restaurants. Music historian Jim Kendros offers free Listeners Club discussions the Wednesday before ESO Classics Series concert weekends at Greenfields of Geneva and the Gail Borden Public Library. Flex passes are available for choosing concerts at a later date, and if a patron can’t make a concert, the ESO offers free exchanges to subscribers and to single ticket buyers for a small fee. The ESO is a world-class orchestra presenting quality musical explorations of some of the greatest music ever written, conveniently located close to home in the western suburbs. The ESO-Transforming the Symphony Experience. www.ElginSymphony.org.