SF GIRLS CHORUS PRESENTS ECHOES OF THE CLASSICS: CANONS BY BRAHMS, FRANCK AND HAYDN WITH GUEST CELLIST AND COMPOSER JOSHUA ROMAN
APRIL 10 AT HERBST THEATRE IN SAN FRANCISCO
San Francisco, CA, February 12, 2016 – The Grammy Award-winning San Francisco Girls Chorus continues its 2015-2016 season with guest cellist, composer and TED fellow Joshua Roman in a program entitled Echoes of the Classics: Canons by Brahms, Franck and Haydn, Sunday, April 10 at 4 pm at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. Conducted by San Francisco Girls Chorus Music Director Valérie Sainte-Agathe, the concert demonstrates how some of history’s great composers elevated the complex yet humble form of canons and rounds to high art.
Included will be the world premiere of a new work for chorus and cello by Joshua Roman, Veni Mater Gracie – Dou Way Robin (Anonymous) , a selection of canons by Haydn, In Meeres Mitten by Schumann, Panis Angelicus by Franck, Zwei Gesänge Op. 91, #2 – Geistliches Wiegenlied and Canon Op. 113, #13, Geographical Fugue by Ernst Toch and Snow by Alan Vincent. Tickets for the April 10 concert are priced $18-$36 and may be purchased at www.sfgirlschorus.org.
Lisa Bielawa, San Francisco Girls Chorus Artistic Director, comments, “Composers like Haydn, Brahms and Schumann need no introduction to music-loving audiences, and surely we might simply like to sit back and bask in the tenor sonority of the cello, played by a masterful soloist with a young heart, in combination with some of the younger voices of the SF Girls Chorus. But the pieces on this program bring these icons together with other composers who may be new discoveries for our listeners , specifically in order to explore their commerce in the craft of the imitative melody. For centuries, since the Medieval era and before, composers have known the charm of a melody heard echoing itself. Canons, fugues and other kinds of melodic echoes haunt us as listeners, invite us to hover between the heart and the mind.
“From the intellectual tour-de-force of some of Haydn’s a cappella canons, most of which follow the rules of canonical writing to the note, to the simple echoing of an opening phrase in Brahms’s Opus 91, these pieces show composers’ recognition of the power of the melodic voice to remember itself. Franck’s Panis Angelicus may be so well-known for its lush lyricism that many may not realize that it is actually a canon, and early 20th-century composer Ernst Toch’s Geographical Fugue takes melody itself out of the canon, leaving us only with dialoguing rhythms.”
About Joshua Roman
Joshua Roman has earned national renown for performing a wide-ranging repertoire with an absolute commitment to communicating the essence of the music at its most organic level. He is also recognized as an accomplished composer, curator, and programmer, particularly in his work as Artistic Director of Seattle Town Hall’s TownMusic series, with a vision to engage and expand the classical music audience.
For his ongoing creative initiatives on behalf of classical music, Roman was named a 2011 TED Fellow, joining a select group of next generation innovators of unusual accomplishments who show potential to positively affect the world. The 2013-14 season began in July when Roman was the inaugural Alumnus-in-Residence at the prestigious Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara. In the fall, Roman gave the San Francisco premiere of Dreamsongs, a new cello concerto written for Roman by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis, with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra. Other highlights include concerto performances with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and recitals in Napa, CA, Coral Gables, FL, Los Alamos, NM, and Seattle. As a composer, two new Roman works receive world premieres this season, one in Washington, D.C., by the Verge Ensemble, and the other in Seattle as part of the TownMusic series.
A complete musician who is dedicated to performance, artistic leadership, and creation of new works through collaboration, Roman’s work as Artistic Director of TownMusic in Seattle has showcased his eclectic musical influences and inspirations, from chamber music favorites to a host of newly commissioned works. Under Roman’s guidance, the series has offered world premieres of compositions by some of today’s brightest young composers and performances by cutting-edge ensembles. The 2013-14 TownMusic season features concerts by Roomful of Teeth, Enso String Quartet, violinist Karen Gomyo, Latin jazz pianist Pablo Ziegler and soprano Mary Mackenzie, and world premieres of works by Raymond Lustig, Amir Shpilman, Wang Jie, and Roman himself. Beyond TownMusic, Roman’s adventurous spirit has led to collaborations with artists outside of the music community, including his co-creation of “On Grace” with Anna Deavere Smith, a work for actor and cello featuring original music composed by Roman, which premiered in February 2012 at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral and is now performed around the country. The two artists will be in residence at the University of Chicago in January 2014.
Beyond the performance stage, Roman is dedicated to exploring emerging platforms to harness new audiences, in particular social media. He recently completed an ongoing video series called “The Popper Project,” where the cellist performed, recorded and uploaded the complete David Popper’s High School of Cello Playing to his dedicated YouTube channel. His newest YouTube project, “Everyday Bach,” features Roman performing Bach’s cello suites from beautiful settings around the world. He has collaborated with photographer Chase Jarvis on Nikon video projects, and Paste magazine singled out Roman and DJ Spooky for their cello and iPad cover of Radiohead’s “Everything in Its Right Place,” created for the Voice Project. 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, communicating a message of hope through music.
Oklahoma City native Roman began playing the cello at the age of three on a quarter-size instrument, and gave his first public recital at age 10. Home-schooled until he was 16, Roman 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. He is grateful for the loan of an 1899 cello by Giulio Degani of Venice.