RELEASE: Renowned Cellist and Omaha Favorite Joshua Roman Returns to Holland Stage
Maestro Wilkins Leads the Omaha Symphony in Ravel’s exquisite “Mother Goose” Suite
Program also features works by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Malcolm Arnold
OMAHA, Neb., March 16, 2021—After his 2017 performance to a sold-out Omaha audience, nationally renowned cellist Joshua Roman returns to the Holland Performing Arts Center stage – once again under the baton of Maestro Thomas Wilkins, the two join the Omaha Symphony to perform Saint-Saëns’ groundbreaking Concerto No. 1 in A minor for Cello and Orchestra. The performances March 26 and 27 are Omaha’s chance not only to see one of the beloved Maestro’s final performances as Music Director of the Omaha Symphony, but also to see one of the United States’ greatest soloists in action. The orchestra also performs Ravel’s playful “Mother Goose” Suite, Malcolm Arnold’s “Four Scottish Dances,” and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Suite from the Ballet Music, “Hiawatha.”
Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27 at the Holland Performing Arts Center Peter Kiewit Concert Hall.
“I’m truly excited to share this dynamic program with the Omaha community,” said Maestro Thomas Wilkins. “These works by Ravel, Arnold, and Coleridge-Taylor are absolute delights, and we’re also thrilled to welcome back cellist Joshua Roman, who’s a great favorite of our audiences and our orchestra. It’s always such a treat to make music with Joshua – he’s an extraordinary artist who is magnetic to watch.”
Friday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Holland Performing Arts Center Peter Kiewit Concert Hall
Thomas Wilkins, conductor
Joshua Roman, cello
MALCOLM ARNOLD: Four Scottish Dances, Op. 59
COLERIDGE-TAYLOR: Suite from the Ballet Music, Hiawatha, Op. 82 a
SAINT-SAENS: Concerto No. 1 in A minor for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 33
RAVEL: Mother Goose Suite
Trained as a trumpeter, English composer Malcolm Arnold is well-known for his orchestral renderings of lively folk music. “Four Scottish Dances” evokes the people and landscape of Scotland, using musical motifs such as the “Scottish snap” and reel as well as timbres that hint at the traditional bagpipe sound.
Composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was born in London in 1875 to a Black doctor from Sierra Leone and a white Englishwoman. He showed aptitude for composition from an early age, studying with Sir Charles Stanford at 16, winning a composition scholarship and completing his studies at the Royal College of Music in 1897. Coleridge-Taylor garnered fame after the composition and highly successful run of the 1898 cantata, “Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast,” which rivaled performances of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” and Handel’s “Messiah.” He later adapted and expanded his cantata to an orchestral suite that could also be performed as a ballet – his opus 82a.
In his French composition circle, Saint-Saëns was a controversial figure; he was seen as radical to his more conservative peers and was deemed a “prophet of Wagner.” He lived long enough to reach a new era in composition, one in which audiences were captivated and appalled by Stravinsky’s ballets, and became known as a reactionary among his Parisian musical contemporaries. Saint-Saëns’ cello concerto, like his “Organ” symphony and other cornerstone works of his catalog, defies the conventions of the time – he was one of the first composers to write multi-movement works as one continuous movement in various sections. His cello concerto starts, unconventionally, with the cello joining in almost immediately with the orchestra and playing straight through until the end.
Though Ravel was often compared to his contemporary Debussy, the two had markedly differing styles; while Debussy’s musical signature was ambiguity and sensuality, Ravel’s style was precision and economy. Ravel’s ballet, Ma Mère l’Oye (Mother Goose) began as a set of five pieces for four-hand piano and was written for brother and sister duo Mimi and Jean Godebski, children of Ravel’s friends. It was Ravel’s publisher Jacques Durand and the impresario Jacques Rouché who convinced the composer to turn these little pieces into a large, fully orchestrated ballet Rouché would later himself direct. Ravel’s ear for orchestration shows in this lushly expanded version, but the work maintains its sense of childlike wonder.
About Joshua Roman
Joshua Roman is a cellist, accomplished composer and curator whose performances embrace musical styles from Bach to Radiohead. Before setting off on his unique path as a soloist, Roman was the Seattle Symphony’s principal cellist – a job he began at just 22 years of age and left only two years later. He has since become renowned for his genre-bending repertoire and wide-ranging collaborations. Roman was named a TED Senior Fellow in 2015. His live performance of the complete Six Suites for Solo Cello by J.S. Bach on TED’s Facebook Page garnered 1.8M live viewers, with millions more for his Main Stage TED Talks/Performances, including an improvisational performance with Tony-winner/MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Bill T. Jones and East African vocalist Somi.
A Gramophone review of his 2017 recording of Aaron Jay Kernis’s Cello Concerto (written for Roman) proclaimed that “Roman’s outstanding performance of the cello concerto is the disc’s highlight… Roman’s extraordinary performance combines the expressive control of Casals with the creative individuality and virtuoso flair of Hendrix himself.” Recent highlights include performing standard and new concertos with the Colorado, Detroit, Jacksonville, Milwaukee, and San Francisco Symphonies. In addition to his other orchestral appearances Roman has collaborated with the JACK, St. Lawrence, and Verona Quartets and brings the same fresh approach to chamber music projects to his own series, Town Music at Town Hall Seattle.
Joshua Roman’s adventurous spirit has led to collaborations with artists outside the music community, including creating “On Grace” with Tony-nominated actor Anna Deavere Smith. His compositions are inspired by sources such as the poetry of Pulitzer Prize-winner Tracy K. Smith, and the musicians he writes for, such as the JACK Quartet, violinist Vadim Gluzman, and conductor David Danzmayr. Roman’s 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.
Tickets for Wilkins and Joshua Roman start at $20. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.omahasymphony.org, through the Ticket Omaha app, or by calling Ticket Omaha at 402.345.0606. Performance dates are subject to change. In the event of performance changes or cancellations, the Omaha Symphony will email ticket holders to inform them of new dates and ticketing options. Patrons with questions may email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Omaha Symphony also regularly posts performance updates at omahasymphony.org, along with the Omaha Symphony’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages. Patrons can sign up for the latest updates at omahasymphony.org.
Public Health Information
Performances at the Holland Performing Arts Center feature physically distanced seating and will only be seated at a maximum of 30 percent capacity. All patrons will be required to complete a health screening questionnaire prior to accessing their mobile tickets via the Ticket Omaha app. Masks are required at indoor Omaha Symphony performances. The following changes have been implemented within the venue:
- Enhanced Cleaning & Sanitation - Electrostatic technology disinfecting large common areas, enhanced sanitizing of high touch surfaces with hospital grade disinfectant and hand sanitizing stations throughout the venue
- Heating and Cooling System – Upgrades to air handling units includes bipolar ionization filtering out viruses through ventilation
- Staff Precautions – Staff and volunteers are required to complete a health screening upon entrance to the building, wear face masks and receive temperature checks.
- Touchless Experience – Tickets are accessible via the Ticket Omaha app. Tickets can also be printed at Will Call. Program notes will be delivered digitally.
Find the most up to date public health information at omahasymphony.org/public-health.
This performance is sponsored by Omaha Steaks.
The Omaha Symphony is a non-profit organization that presents more than 100 live orchestral performances from September through June. In addition to Masterworks, Symphony Pops, Symphony Rocks, Movies, Symphony Joslyn, and Family series concerts, the Omaha Symphony’s nationally recognized education and community engagement programs touch the lives of more than 40,000 people each year. For tickets or information regarding the Omaha Symphony, call 402-345-0606 or visit omahasymphony.org. Programs, artists, dates, times, prices, and availability are subject to change.