When lines form outside the sold-out concert hall to hear a solo cello recital, you know the artist is someone special. Joshua Roman, the 23-year-old...

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When lines form outside the sold-out concert hall to hear a solo cello recital, you know the artist is someone special. Joshua Roman, the 23-year-old principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony, has rapidly become the rock star of Seattle’s classical-music scene with his charisma and his passion for music.

Fans who’ve read his bio know that this Cleveland Institute of Music master’s degree graduate traveled last summer with his three younger siblings to Uganda to play in refugee camps, where, as Roman puts it, “We saw the power of music to reach people who had never heard of violins or Mozart.” But here are a few things you might not know about Roman:

• He was 3 when he started playing the cello, 6 when he decided to become a concert cellist.

• He lives in a big house in Ballard, rattling around by himself in a place with “all these chairs that have never been sat in, and all these beds that haven’t been slept in.”

• In a recurring dream, someone is suddenly unable to play a piano concerto Roman wrote, and he has to come out and play the solo instead — “except that I haven’t written a concerto and I don’t play the piano.”

Hear him play


Joshua Roman is a featured performer at the Seattle Symphony’s “Bridging the 48th Parallel” festival June 8 at Benaroya Hall. Roman will also play with the Northwest Sinfonietta in Town Hall Seattle (7:30 p.m. July 7, 4 p.m. July 8; www.brownpapertickets.com). See www.seattlechambermusic.org for more Roman performances.

• If Radiohead called and asked him to join the group, he would drop the cello. He has a bit of a rocker past as lead singer with two bands called the Subatomic Penguins and the Goat Smokers. (Don’t ask him what the titles mean.)

• On his CD player, you might find a disc that includes Dr. Dre, Nine Inch Nails and the “Turangalila” Symphony of 20th-century classical composer Olivier Messiaen.

• Roman’s record for daily cello practicing is 14 hours. These days, it’s more like seven or eight.

• His career is igniting like firecrackers. This month he goes to Osaka to play recitals (returning for an October music festival), and he’s busy learning Japanese with the Rosetta Stone program.

• Every other day, Roman does two hours of yoga. Right now, the love of his life is probably the “Bass of Spain” Stradivarius cello. And, he insists, “I’m not getting married until I’m 40 or 45.”