Inspired by a unique collaboration for Princeton University Concert's new series Healing With Music, Immunity is an intimate musical exploration of cellist Joshua Roman’s life-altering, inspiring experience of ongoing long COVID, with music ranging from J.S. Bach to George Crumb to Caroline Shaw, as well as Roman’s own compositions. The program combines performance and storytelling into an emotional journey, as the cellist confronts the impact of the illness and the limitations that nearly ended his career, before progressing through a period of doubt, struggle, refocus, and renewal, culminating in a profound acceptance of self and a deeper connection to what's most important in life.

In addition to a renewed sense of commitment to sharing music, the strong desire to bring art and life together in real time led him to the creation of this project. Over the next 2-3 years, Immunity will include an album, videos, collaborations, and concert / conversations in a variety of venues from traditional classical halls to living rooms and digital platforms. Immunity takes Roman's unique ability to connect with audiences of all kinds and melds it with his affinity for thoughtful curation that speaks to the moment, his articulate and easygoing stage presence, and his powerful virtuosity. 

One Year into long COVID, Joshua Roman performs Dvorák Concerto for Cello

Roman has continued to perform despite the challenges long COVID has wrought on his life, tackling projects with violinist Tessa Lark and bassist Edgar Meyer as well as the concerto appearances which make up the bulk of his concert schedule. Here is Joshua performing Dvořák Cello Concerto with Jader Bignamini and the Detroit Symphony one year into long COVID.

Cellist Joshua Roman Plays All Six Bach Suites

Here is Joshua's performance of the Six Suites by J.S. Bach on TED's Facebook Page the week after the 2016 election, which reached 980,000 live viewers.

Juilliard Creative Associate for Immunity

Joining the Juilliard School as a Creative Associate for the 2023-24 academic year, Joshua will be workshopping collaborations for Immunity and mentoring students across all three of Juilliard's disciplines (music, dance, drama). Joshua will guide them through their own collaborations and focus on how vulnerability can help us create deeper, more meaningful connections and art. These collaborations will culminate in a performance at the Chelsea Factory on February 22nd, where he will present alongside the students who participate in the program and will have a moderated discussion.

In the fall 2023 semester, Joshua coached a cello choir of Juilliard students for "vox celli", a multimedia concert experience in collaboration with Juilliard's Center for Innovation in the Arts. The performance took place in Peter Jay Sharp Theater, where the cellists performed works by Arvo Pärt, Gity Razaz, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Julius Eastman, joined by students from the vocal program. Through his role as a Creative Associate, Joshua guides the students to a deeper understanding of themselves and the art they make, and confidence in bringing more of their unique humanity and creativity into their careers.


Joshua Roman featured on NBC Nightly News

Joshua was featured on NBC Nightly News in a segment about a new study on long-COVID, where he is interviewed by NBC's Anne Thompson.

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Immunity will be flexible depending on audience, format, collaborators, and venue. The program will include:

  • J.S. Bach Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007: I. Prélude
  • Allison Loggins-Hull Stolen
  • Mark Summer Julie-O
  • Caroline Shaw in manus tuas
  • Krzysztof Penderecki Capriccio per Siegfried Palm
  • Joshua Roman Duet (with Tessa Lark)
  • George Crumb Sonata for Solo Cello
  • Joshua Roman Immunity
  • Leonard Cohen (arr. Roman) Hallelujah

The Album

Immunity will be recorded in Summer of 2023 for release as an album, with producer Adam Abeshouse. Adam has received multiple Grammys for his engineering and producing, and happens to also be going through his own long COVID experience. All costs associated with the production of the album will go through the Classical Recording Foundation and be eligible as tax-deductible gifts.

Project Advisors

Anna Deavere Smith

Keith Yamashita

Past Immunity Performances

December 3, 2023

A Well Being Concert

Carnegie Hall

Featuring selections from the Immunity program and a variety of comfortable cushion seating, the concert's musical program was mixed with meditation, reflection, and breathing practices by host Jasmine Edwards, music therapist and NYU PhD student.

October 12, 2023

OHSU Long COVID Clinic

A performance for an exclusive audience of OHSU's long COVID clinic and patients, the concert was followed by a Q&A conducted by the doctor who leads the OHSU Long COVID clinic, Dr. Herman.