Charles Coleman

Born in New York City in 1968, composer-vocalist-producer Charles Coleman has lived an extraordinary musical life that began as a boy soprano in the Metropolitan Opera and most recently triumphed when the Cincinnati Symphony and The New Jersey Symphony premiered his two new major symphonic works, "Deep Woods " and "Red Oak Dawn."

After a brief apprenticeship in musical composition at the Turtle Bay Music School he entered the Manhattan School of Music where he earned his Masters Degree studying with composers David Noon and Eric Lundborg. At Manhattan he met Kristjan Jarvi with whom, he and Gene Pritsker, founded The Absolute Ensemble. Coleman was named Composer-in-Residence of the Ensemble in 1997.

The Absolute Ensemble has come to symbolize a special blend of modern classical music; a synthesis of jazz, rock and traditional music, probably best expressed in Charles Coleman's "Absolution," written in 1999 and recorded on ENJA NOVA, a CD that was nominated for the "Best Small Ensemble Performance" Grammy in 2002.

As of this writing Charles Coleman has written more than 70 compositions starting with Five Songs of Mother Goose (1993) for Soprano and Piano which was published by Vanguard Music in 1993. Young Words for Chamber Ensemble was commissioned in 1995 by Litchfield Performing Arts of Connecticut and was choreographed and performed by the Pilobolus Dance Company. Elegy (1995) for String Orchestra , West Side Nocturne (1997) for Solo Piano , Tracks (1998) for Chamber Ensemble and Pastorale (1999) for Flute, Cello and Guitar (1999) followed, and his first Violin Concerto, Monologue Blue had its world premiere in Tallinn, Estonia in August of 1998.

After his funky Rut Strut for Chamber Ensemble was performed in the New York Public Theatre's Joe's Pub in 2000, Coleman received a commission to write a major symphonic work celebrating the opening of The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's 2001-2002 season with its new Music Director, Paavo Jarvi. "Streetscape" for Full Orchestra is a furious walk through the streets of Coleman's native Manhattan, was first performed on September 14, 2001, in Cincinnati, three days after the destruction of the World Trade Center. Streetscape has since been performed several times by various groups such as the San Francisco Symphony and the Riga Festival Orchestra in Latvia.

Many commissions followed including Pavement (2002) with the Dogs of Desire chamber orchestra conducted by David Alan Miller. Latarnia (2005) for Bassoon and Orchestra performed by The Riga Chamber Players under Normunds Sne. And Red Oak Dawn (2006) premiered by New Jersey Symphony under the baton of Neeme Jarvi.

In early 2007, Coleman spent five weeks as the resident composer of the Cincinnati Symphony teaching, composing and lecturing as part of "Music Alive," a program that partners the "Meet the Composer" Foundation with the American Symphony Orchestra League. The main event of this residency featured the Cincinnati Symphony commissioned world premiere of his Deep Woods, performed on Thursday, May 3, 2007 at the CSO Music Hall conducted by Paavo Jarvi. Coleman returned to New York the following week to premiere his new chamber opera, Redemption, commissioned by Golden Fleece Ltd.

In his short career, Coleman's work as a composer, orchestrator and producer has appeared on many CDs, notably "Absolute Mix" (CCn'C 00702) which won the German Record Critics Award in the year 2000. He has served as the producer of four CDs.

Finally, he works from time to time as a professional baritone, having championed the music of Gene Pritsker, Luis Andrei Cobo and Elias Tannenbaum among many others. Coleman is a regular vocalist with Golden Fleece Ltd.



Personal Website



"American Portraits" - Paavo Jarvi conducts the Cincinnati Symphony. "Streetscape" and Deep Woods" by Charles Coleman. Also includes works by Jennifer Higdon, Carter Pann, Jonathan Bailey Holland and Kevin Puts. Released 2011. Available at:

Samples of Music Composed by Charles Coleman

Identifiers. For Two Cellos. / (5.4mb - 3:44)

That Time of Year. (Lynn Norris , soprano; Thomas Carlo Bo, piano. / (6.9mb - 4:46)

Streetscape (ending). Performed by the Cincinnati Symphony, Paavo Jarvi, conductor. / (3mb - 2:30)

Lay Bare the Heart (piano solo). / (8.5mb - 9:22)

Deep Woods (excerpt). Performed by the Cincinnati Symphony, Paavo Jarvi, conductor. / (3.6mb - 2:35)

The Lime Factory. / (7.5mb - 5:28)

The Sunset. II. / (2.6mb - 1:53)

Absolution. / (9.5mb - 6:55)

Red Oak Dawn (excerpt). / (2.7mb - 1:57)

In Memoriam. (vocal by Charles Coleman). / (2.3mb - 2:29)