Roger Cline joined the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1973 at
the age of 27. He was born and raised in Tacoma, Washington. His father made
violins as a hobby, so that when Cline first showed an interest in playing a
musical instrument, violin was the logical choice. Later, after deciding to
play bass, he continued his music studies at the University of Michigan, where
he received a master’s degree in bass performance, studying with Lawrence
Hurst. He spent three years in the U.S. Army Special Forces Band at West Point
Military Academy and continued his studies with Homer Mensch while playing bass
and sousaphone in the band. He has performed with numerous chamber ensembles
and with groups of his colleagues from the CSO, as well as in recital at the
library at Lincoln Center. He also plays the bass viola da gamba in his church
and local period-instrument concerts. He performed the solo gamba parts in
Bach’s Saint John Passion with the CSO.
Cline also is a professional woodworker. His turned-wood
bowls and sculptural objects are sold in galleries in Wilmette (IL), Ellison
Bay (WI), Mount Vernon (WA) and Washington (D.C.). He also makes wood
percussion instruments that are used in the CSO as well as in orchestras
throughout the U.S.
Cline’s entire family is made up of professional string
players: wife Betsy is a local freelance violinist and member of the Lake
Forest Symphony; daughter Jenny is a violist member of the National Symphony in
Washington, D.C.; and son Daniel is a cellist arts partner member of the
Cline is a
long-time member of the Chicago Symphony Members Committee.