About Joshua


"A cellist of extraordinary technical and musical gifts" (San Francisco Chronicle), New York based cellist Joshua Roman has earned national renown for performing a wide range of repertoire with an absolute commitment to communicating the essence of the music at its most organic level. He is also recognized as an accomplished 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.

In the 2012/13 season, Roman makes his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut, performing Osvaldo Golijov's Azul under conductor Marin Alsop. Other highlights include concerto performances with the New World Symphony, the Alabama Symphony, the Stockton Symphony, and the Asheville Symphony, and the world premiere of a new cello concerto by Pulitzer Prize-winner Aaron Jay Kernis with the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra. Also this season, Roman gives recitals in Vancouver, Madison, Chicago, La Jolla, Denver, and Seattle at 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 given world premieres of compositions by some of today's brightest young composers, such as Mason Bates, Derek Bermel, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Dan Visconti, among others, and it has featured cutting edge ensembles like Alarm Will Sound, Brooklyn Rider and the JACK Quartet. Roman's adventurous spirit has led to collaborations with artists outside of the music community, including his co-creation "On Grace" with Anna Deveare Smith, a work for actor and cello which premiered in February 2012 at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral.

TownMusic's 2012/13 season opens in September with a piano trio featuring Roman, violinist Dale Barltrop and pianist Victor Asuncion, followed in November by an evening of music and comedy with violinist Aleksey Igudesman and pianist Hyung-ki Joo. In February, violinist Jennifer Koh gives an overview of the history of violin music in a recital called “Bach and Beyond. In the series' final two concerts, Roman takes the stage with two acclaimed new music groups, first the Talea Ensemble and then the JACK Quartet, for a performance-specific commission by Jefferson Friedman.

Driven to make music accessible to a wider audience, Roman is at home in any place from a club to a classroom, performing chamber music, jazz, rock, or even a solo sonata by Bach or Kodaly. Beyond the performance stage, Roman is dedicated to exploring new platforms to harness new audiences, especially social media. He recently completed an ongoing video series called “The Popper Project." Wherever the cellist and his laptop found themselves, he performed and recorded an Etude from David Popper's “High School of Cello Playing" to be collected and uploaded to his dedicated YouTube channel. 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.

Among last season's highlights was Roman's appearance as guest artist for the Seattle Symphony's opening night gala, which marked Ludovic Morlot's first concert as Music Director. Roman made his debuts with the Toronto and BBC Symphonies and at the Mariinsky Theater; performed at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament; and gave recitals through San Francisco Performances and in the Dame Myra Hess series in Chicago. He also played concertos with orchestras in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina and Oregon. Summer engagements included visits to La Jolla Summerfest and Music In The Vineyards in Napa Valley, CA.

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 Symphony, where he gave the world premiere of David Stock's Cello Concerto, as well as with the San Francisco and Edmonton Symphony Orchestras, among many others.

TED Conferences

TED2015, TED2011

I'm passionate about


Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

Joshua Roman
Posted over 4 years ago
Beverly + Dereck Joubert: Life lessons from big cats
I think it is amazing to see an important subject like wildlife conservation treated with such care. Focusing on the personality of these animals shows a unique perspective, one that for me is more personally compelling than some well-intentioned but perhaps less emotionally accessible campaigns to save nature. As this awareness grows, may our commitment to understanding and respecting nature also deepen.
Joshua Roman
Posted over 4 years ago
Barry Schwartz: The paradox of choice
Interesting reflections on emotions I can definitely relate to. I often feel overwhelmed by choice. I think Barry focuses on too narrow a spectrum though; while he makes valid points, these are circumstantial. If you take a look from a broader perspective, you can see that education plays a big role in our ability and confidence when presented with a large range of choices. If I have a strong opinion, and/or know more about the choices in front of me, it's very easy to narrow it down. If I don't, and the person (vendor, seller, etc.) I feel should help me abdicates that responsibility to me, then the overwhelmed feeling is more likely to arise.