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Slee Sinfonietta, Roman kick off UB concert season

Joshua Roman

Cellist Joshua Roman will perform as part of the Slee/Visiting Artist Series. Photo: Jeremy Sawatzky

By SUE WUETCHER

Published September 5, 2013

Case Scaglione, assistant conductor for the New York Philharmonic, will conduct the Slee Sinfonietta in a Sept. 10 performance that opens the Department of Music’s 2013-14 concert season.

The concert by UB’s professional chamber orchestra in residence will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, North Campus.

Also on tap this month will be a performance by cellist Joshua Roman, a protégé of Yo Yo Ma, as part of the Slee/Visiting Artist Series. That concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 in Baird Recital Hall, 250 Baird Hall, North Campus.

The first half of the program for the Slee Sinfonietta concert will begin with of a number of short songs, including two settings of the gloomy and foreboding Paul Verlaine poem “Un grand sommeil noir” (translated “A Deep Black Sheep”). The program then will move on to songs that magnify and glorify God based on the Jewish prayer book and traditional Yiddish verse. Mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley is the featured soloist.

The first half of the concert will end with Boulez’ 1987 orchestration of Ravel’s very brief “Frontispice,” originally composed for two pianos, five hands.

Slee Sinfionetta

The second half of the program consists of the monumental, 53-minute revision of Boulez’ “Derive 2,” the shorter original composed for Elliott Carter on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 1988.

The concert is being presented by the Department of Music in conjunction with The Robert & Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music at UB.

Roman’s Sept. 21 concert will feature three of Bach’s beloved solo cello suites: Suite No.3 in C major, BWV 1009; Suite No.2 in D minor, BWV 1008; and Suite No. 6 in D Major, BWV 1012.

Advanced tickets for both concerts are $12 for adults, $9 for UB faculty/staff/alumni and senior citizens, and $5 for students. At the door, tickets are $20, $15 and $8. Tickets can be obtained by calling the Slee Hall box office at (716) 645-2921, in person at the Center for the Arts box office, or online at tickets.com.

The Slee Sinfonietta, the flagship ensemble of the Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music, presents a series of concerts each year that feature performances of challenging new works by contemporary composers and lesser-known works from the chamber orchestra repertoire.

Founded in 1997 by composer and UB faculty member David Felder, the ensemble is comprised of a core group, including UB faculty performance artists, visiting artists, national and regional professionals, and advanced performance students. It is conducted by leading conductors and composers.

Joshua Roman, a native of Oklahoma City, began playing the cello at age 3 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 a bachelor’s degree in cello performance in 2004 and a master’s degree in 2005 as a student of Desmond Hoebig, former principal cellist of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Before embarking on a solo career, Roman spent two seasons as principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony, a position he won in 2006 at the age of 22. Since that time he has appeared as soloist with the Seattle Symphony, where he gave the world premiere of David Stock’s Cello Concerto, as well as with the Albany and Santa Barbara symphonies and the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional del Ecuador, among many others.

He performed Britten’s third “Cello Suite” during New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival in a pre-concert recital at Avery Fisher Hall, and was the only guest artist invited to play an unaccompanied solo during the YouTube Symphony Orchestra’s 2009 debut concert at Carnegie Hall.

In addition to his solo work, Roman is an active chamber music performer, collaborating with veterans like Earl Carlyss, Christopher Taylor and Christian Zacharias, as well as with the Seattle Chamber Music Society and the International Festival of Chamber Music in Lima, Peru.

A complete musician who is dedicated to performance, artistic leadership and creation of new works through collaboration, Roman also serves as artistic director of TownMusic in Seattle.