“I love my Santa Fe recital program,” says cellist Joshua Roman, who comes to town to play with pianist Gilles Vonsattel on February 16 and the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra on February 11.
On the recital program are sonatas by Beethoven and Brahms, a piece for cello and piano by Arvo Pärt that transports the listener to a meditative place and a work by Leoš Janáček based on a fairytale about a prince, princess and evil lord of the dead.
Roman recently added a fifth piece to the recital program. “Undercurrent,” a 2013 work by Roman’s friend, pianist and composer Gregg Kallor, has a jazzy feel and Debussy-like progressions in it.
“I’ve recorded “Undercurrent” with Gregg, but I’ve never played it with Gilles before,” says Roman.
“Gilles was so great about sight reading it with me. I wasn’t sure how it would fit his hands, since Gregg wrote it knowing it would fit his own hands well, but Gilles happily read it and was absolutely fine about performing it with me.”
During the symphonic performance on February 11, Roman plays Dmitri Shostakovich’s “Cello Concerto No.1,” a work composed in 1959 for renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich. It is considered to be one of the most difficult works in the cello repertoire.
Roman, who attended the Cleveland Institute of Music and spent two season as principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony before embarking on a solo career, has appeared as a soloist with many orchestras worldwide and is an active chamber musician who has collaborated with a diverse group of artists including Grammy-nominated pianist Andrius Zlabys and Grammy award-wining cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
Vonsattel, the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and winner of the Naumburg and Geneva competitions, is also a versatile musician who engages in a wide range of solo, chamber and orchestral performances.
“Gilles is a lot like me in many ways, particularly in his interest in looking at what’s behind the music and his musical taste,” says Roman. “We’re kindred spirits.”