Gene Coleman is a composer, musician and director. A 2014 Guggenheim Fellow and recipient of the 2013 Berlin Prize for Music, he has created over 70 works for various instrumentation and media. Innovative use of sound, image, space and time allows Coleman to create work that expands our understanding of the world. Since 2001 his work has focused on the global transformation of culture and music’s relationship with other media, such as architecture, video and dance. He studied painting, music and film making at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where his principle teachers included legendary experimental film artists Stan Brakhage and Ernie Gehr, as well as Robert Snyder (music) and Barbara Rossi (painting).
Coleman has an extensive record working internationally. He was composer in residence at the American Academy in Berlin (2013), the American Academy in Rome (Fall 2011), Shofuso Japanese House (Philadelphia, 2009), Foundation Kunst Raum Sylt Quelle (Germany, 2008), Westwerk (Hamburg, 2007), Taipei Artists Village (2007), University of Lubeck (Germany, Feb. 2005), The House of World Cultures (Berlin, 2003/2004), Takefu International Music Festival (Japan, 2002) Spritzen Haus (Hamburg, 1995) and ASAP (Maine, 2000/2001). In July 2005, he was a recipient of grants from Meet the Composer and the US State Department for a composer’s residency in Beirut, Lebanon. In 2001, he received a fellowship from the NEA/Japan-US Friendship Commission and lived in Japan for 8 months. He has received 4 fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and 1 from the New Jersey State Arts Council (2008), as well as grants from the NEA, Arts Midwest, American Music Center, The American Composers Forum, Meet the Composer, The Japan Foundation, Philadelphia Music Project and others. He has received commissions from Chamber Music America, The Crossing, Archer Spade, Tom Buckner, Phace Contemporary Music, Network for New Music, Nexus Gallery, Trio Accanto, Klangforum Wien, Chamber Music Now, Ensemble 01, E-Mex Ensemble and the NRW Culture Foundation, The Renaissance Society, International House Philadelphia, Chicago Cultural Center, The Takefu Festival, HKW Berlin, Konzerthaus Wien and the Ernst Von Siemens Foundation. Coleman has been a guest lecturer at many universities including Chiao-Tung University and Taipei National University of the Arts (Fall 2007) and Hong Kong University (Fall 2009). His paintings, short films and musical scores have been widely exhibited, including shows at the Art Institute of Chicago (1984) and The MCA Chicago (2000). His ongoing projects feature musicians from many parts of the globe. Recent works such as “Kyoto_Naigai” and “Future City” explore music’s relationship with video and architecture. These and other projects have brought Coleman and his work to many audiences in Europe, Asia and North America.
In the area of improvised music, he has played in concert with many important musicians, including Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Roscoe Mitchell, William Parker, Taku Sugimoto, Kevin Drumm, Yuji Takahashi, Theo Bleckmann, the group Ossatura and many others. He has recorded with Jim O’Rourke and Mats Gustaffson for the Okka Disc label, music by Anthony Braxton and Gulliermo Gregorio for the Hat Art label and three CDs for Leo Records with John Wolf Brennan. Coleman has also recorded and performed with the experimental rock group Gastr del Sol, as well as several projects with Jim O’Rourke and the minimalist composer Tony Conrad. In 2004 the CD “Storobo Imp.” was released — a collection of improvisations with guitarist Uchihashi Kazuhisa on the False Walls label. The German label GROB released “Concert in St. Louis” (with Coleman, Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M. and Franz Hautzinger) in October 2004. His 2006 CD with Lebanese musician Raed Yassin (“The Adventures of Nabil Fawzi”) was highly praised in the influential British magazine The Wire. 2010 saw the release of his first recording with the Italian group Ossatura and the cellist Marina Peterson, which also received a great review in The Wire.
Gene Coleman is also known as a curator and artistic director of new music programs and festivals. In February 2007 he collaborated with the US State Department and the Kennedy Center on “The Tabadol Project”, an ambitious concert and outreach project with 5 Lebanese musicians in 6 US cities. Since 2000 he has been the artistic director of Soundfield, a producing and presenting organization with operations in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and internationally. He was artistic director and guest composer for “Transonic”, an innovative festival about globalization and new music at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin in 2003 and 2004. In 1997 he organized a festival in Chicago of music by the German composer Helmut Lachenmann in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut. With musicians from the Tokyo experimental and traditional music scenes he created the group “Ensemble N_JP” in 2001. Gene Coleman is the artistic director of “Ensemble Noamnesia”, a new music group he founded in 1987. Under his direction, the group has worked with many well known composers, including Salvatore Sciarrino, George Crumb, Chao-Ming Tung, Luc Ferrari, Helmut Lachenmann, Vinko Globokar, Yuji Takahashi, Otomo Yoshihide, Malcolm Goldstein, Burkhard Stangl, Alvin Curran, Guillermo Gregorio, Gerhard Staebler, Kunsu Shim, Mathias Spahlinger and many others.