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Joshua Roman is a cellist, accomplished composer, and curator whose performances embrace musical styles from Bach to Radiohead. Before setting off on his unique path as a soloist, Roman was the Seattle Symphony’s principal cellist, a job he began at just 22 years of age and left only two years later. He has since become renowned for his genre-bending repertoire and wide-ranging collaborations. Roman was named a TED Senior Fellow in 2015. His live performance of the complete Six Suites for Solo Cello by J.S. Bach on TED's Facebook Page garnered 1.8 million live viewers, with millions more for his Main Stage TED Talks/Performances, including an improvisational performance with Tony Award-winner and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Bill T. Jones and East African vocalist Somi.

A Gramophone review of his 2017 recording of Aaron Jay Kernis’s Cello Concerto (written for Roman) proclaimed that “Roman’s outstanding performance of the cello concerto is the disc’s highlight... Roman’s extraordinary performance combines the expressive control of Casals with the creative individuality and virtuoso flair of Hendrix himself.” Recent highlights include performing standard and new concertos with Detroit Symphony Orchestra (on the William Davidson Neighborhood Concert Series), and the Colorado, Jacksonville, Milwaukee, and San Francisco Symphonies. In addition to orchestral appearances, Roman has collaborated with the JACK, St. Lawrence, and Verona Quartets and brings the same fresh approach to chamber music projects as well as his own series, Town Music at Town Hall Seattle.

Roman’s adventurous spirit has led to collaborations with artists outside the music community, including creating “On Grace” with Tony-nominated actor Anna Deavere Smith. His compositions are inspired by sources such as the poetry of Pulitzer Prize-winner Tracy K. Smith, as well as the musicians he writes for, which have included the JACK Quartet, violinist Vadim Gluzman, and conductor David Danzmayr. 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.

Jader Bignamini was introduced as the 18th music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in January 2020, commencing with the 2020-2021 season. He began his tenure as DSO Music Director with the launch of DSO Digital Concerts in September 2020, conducting works by Copland, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, and Saint-Georges. Bignamini’s infectious passion and artistic excellence set the tone for the season ahead, creating extraordinary music and establishing a close relationship with the orchestra.

A native of Crema, Italy, Bignamini studied at the Piacenza Music Conservatory and began his career as a clarinetist with Orchestra Sinfonica La Verdi in Milan, later serving as the group’s resident conductor. Captivated by the symphonies of greats like Mahler and Tchaikovsky, he explored their complexity and power, puzzling out the role that each instrument played in creating a larger-than-life sound. When Bignamini conducted his first professional concert at the age of 28, it didn’t feel like a departure, but an arrival.

In the years since, Bignamini has conducted some of the world’s most acclaimed orchestras and opera companies in venues across the globe including working with Riccardo Chailly on concerts of Mahler’s Eighth Symphony in 2013 and his concert debut at La Scala in 2015 for the opening season of La Verdi Orchestra. Recent highlights include debuts with the Houston, Dallas, and Minnesota symphonies; Osaka Philharmonic and Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo; with the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, and Dutch National Opera (Madama Butterfly); Bayerische Staatsoper (La Traviata); I Puritani in Montpellier for the Festival of Radio France; Traviata in Tokyo directed by Sofia Coppola; Andrea Chénier at New National Theatre in Tokyo; Rossini’s Stabat Mater at Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy; Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle at Teatro dell’Opera in Rome; and return engagements with Oper Frankfurt (La forza del destino) and Santa Fe Opera (La Bohème).

When Bignamini leads an orchestra in symphonic repertoire, he conducts without a score, preferring to make direct eye contact with the musicians. He conducts from the heart, forging a profound connection with his musicians that shines through both onstage and off. Jader Bignamini both embodies and exudes the excellence and enthusiasm that has long distinguished the DSO’s artistry.

Learn about Jader Bignamini's score preparation process

Connection and color

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