Described as one of the "Top 35 Female Composers in Classical Music" by critic Anne Midgette of the Washington Post, Valerie Coleman (B. 1970) is among the world's most played composers living today. Whether it be live or via radio, her compositions are easily recognizable for their inspired style and can be throughout venues, institutions and competitions globally. The Boston Globe describes Coleman as a having a “talent for delineating form and emotion with shifts between ingeniously varied instrumental combinations” and The New York Times observes her compositions as “skillfully wrought, buoyant music”. With works that range from flute sonatas that recount the stories of trafficked humans during Middle Passage and orchestral and chamber works based on nomadic Roma tribes, to scherzos about moonshine in the Mississippi Delta region and motifs based from Morse Code, her body of works have been highly regarded as a deeply relevant contribution to modern music.
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Valerie began her music studies at the age of eleven and by the age of fourteen, had written three symphonies and won several local and state performance competitions. Today, she is the founder, composer and flutist of the Grammy® nominated Imani Winds, one of the world’s premier chamber music ensembles. Through her creations and performances, Valerie has carved a unique path for her artistry, while much of her music is considered to be standard repertoire. She is perhaps best known for UMOJA, a composition that is widely recognized and was listed by Chamber Music America one of the “Top 101 Great American Ensemble Works”.
Valerie is regularly featured as a performer and composer within many of the world’s great concert venues, series and conservatories: Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Walt Disney Hall, DaCamera Houston, Boston Celebrity Series, Krannert Center, Wigmore Hall, Montreal Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Paris Jazz Festival, The Juilliard School, The Eastman School, Curtis, Peabody, Mannes, The Colburn School and countless more. As a flutist, she has recorded with Wayne Shorter, Paquito D’Rivera, Jason Moran, Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, Stefon Harris, Chick Corea and more. She and her ensemble have enjoyed collaborations with Gil Kalish, Paula Robison, Yo-Yo Ma, Anne Marie McDermott, Alexa Still, Ani and Ida Kavafian, David Shifrin, Wu Han, Simon Shaheen, Sam Rivers and many more. Her music is frequently “on the air" with National and local Classical radio stations and their affiliates: Sirius XM, NPR’s Performance Today, All Things Considered, and The Ed Gordon Show; WNYC’s Soundcheck, and MPR’s Saint Paul Sunday. She has received awards and/or honors from the National Flute Association, The Herb Alpert Awards, MAPFUND, ASCAP Concert Music Awards, NARAS, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund, Artists International, Wombwell Kentucky Award, and Michelle E. Sahm Memorial Award to name a few. Coleman has received commissions from the Collegiate Band Directors National Association, Chamber Music Northwest, Virginia Tech University, Virginia Commonwealth University, National Flute Association, West Michigan Flute Society, Orchestra 2001, The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, The Brooklyn Philharmonic, The Flute/Clarinet Duos Consortium, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Music Northwest, and the Interlochen Arts Academy to name a few.
With over two decades of conducting masterclasses, lectures and clinics across the country, Valerie is a highly sought-after clinician and recitalist. With her ensemble, she was recently an artist-in-residence at Mannes College of Music, served on the faculty of Banff Chamber Music Intensive and is currently a guest lecturer at the University of Chicago. She is known among educators to be a strong advocate for diversity in the arts and continues to be a mentoring source of inspiration to emerging artists. In 2011, she created a summer mentorship program in New York City for highly advanced collegiate and post-graduate musicians, called Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival. Now in it’s seventh season, the festival has welcomed musicians from over 100 institutions both national and abroad. Her works are published by Theodore Presser, International Opus, and her own company, V Coleman Music. Her music can be heard on labels: Cedille Records, BMG France, Sony Classics, Eone (formerly Koch International Classics) and Naxos.