“Dreamsongs and Haydn” with Joshua Roman

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March 9th, 2017

Cellist Joshua Roman returns to Omaha Symphony with a performance titled, Dreamsongs and Haydn this Sunday at the Joslyn Art Museum.

“Dreamsongs” is a piece written for Roman by Pulitzer Prize winning composer, Aaron Jay Kernis. He and Kernis met back in 2007.

ROMAN: “Aaron Jay Kernis met in Seattle when I was principal cellist in the Seattle Symphony and this was in 2006-2008, we met in early 2007. He was coming to do a piece called “Newly Drawn Sky” with the orchestra and they asked me to do a donor event where the two of us would play together. Aaron is also an accomplished pianist. So I learned one of his peeces and we did that and a couple of other things at this concert and somehow, I don’t know, we just clicked.

The closer they grew as musicians and friends, the more influence Roman had on the composition process.

ROMAN: “Our relationship really was developing on multiple levels. He and Evelyne and their twins Jonah and Delfine were some of the people that I knew that felt most like family and not just friends. You grow closer to people but having that connection with a family in New York felt somehow special and different. So getting to know Aaron on that level was really kind of al brought together when I moved next door to him, we had one apartment building in between us in Washington Heights for four years and that was great, it was awesome, especially when writing this concerto. I was so excited and I kept forgetting and beingreminded by my friends who would freak out that Aaron was writing this piece because he’s got a Pulitzer Prize and all of that and it’s true but he is such a down to earth guy, but I felt like, it was my friend Aaron, writing me music.

Writing the piece, Kernis wanted to explore what worked for the player.

ROMAN: “That really gave me a sense of the shape of the piece as it was developing. And it also imbued the piece with a lot of my own personality. As he would bring things over, of course, my feedback and input would change the nature of those motifs or those patterns and those techniques he was trying out. I think that is becoming more and more rare, I don’t’ think that is how it was back in the day either. Brahms and Joachim would go back and forth and a lot of what you see in the Brahms violin concerto is Joachim, actually. I wouldn’t go so far as to say what you hear is me and not Aaron in this piece, but there’s a lot of stuff that is like, “Can you try something like this?”, and “Okay, that is the one!”. So, on a small nugget level, there are a lot of collaborative things in the piece, it’s a lot of fun.”

That was cellist Joshua Roman, you can hear their collaborative efforts in a performance titled “Dreamsongs and Haydn” this Sunday at The Joslyn Art Music. Joined by maestro Thomas Wilkins and the Omaha Symphony you’ll also hear other works by 20th century composers. The performance begins at 2pm. For tickets and more information call ticket Omaha at 402.345.0606 or log on to www.omahasymphony.org.

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