Gene Coleman is a composer, musician and artistic director. He has created
over 40 works for various instrumentation, often-using complex notations and
improvisation in the same score. Radical use of the instrument's sound producing
possibilities makes Coleman, both as a composer and as a performer, a musician
who seeks a greater synthesis between what is called sound (or noise) and
what is called music. Since 2001 his work has focused on globalization and
music’s relationship with architecture and video.
Gene Coleman studied painting, music and filmmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1979 to 1984. His principle teachers were Barbara Rossi (painting), Robert Snyder (music), Stan Brakhage and Ernie Gehr (filmmaking). He also studied music composition privately with Ross Feller.
Coleman has an extensive record working internationally. He will be composer in residence at the Taipei Artists Village in November and December 2006. 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. He was a guest composer at the Takefu International Music Festival (June 2002). He has been composer in residence at Spritzen Haus (Hamburg, November 1995), ASAP (Maine, August 2000 and 2001), The House of World Cultures (Berlin, 2003/2004) and the University of Lubeck (Germany, Feb. 2005). In the area of composition, he has four times received a fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council, as well as grants from the NEA, Arts Midwest, Meet the Composer, the American Music Center, The American Composers Forum, The Asian Cultural Council and others. He has received commissions from Winifred Huan Dance Company, Trio Accanto, Klangforum Wien, The Renaissance Society, The International House of Japan, Trio AYA, Chicago Cultural Center, The Takefu Festival, HKW Berlin, Konzerthaus Wien, the Lucerne Festival and the Ernst Von Siemens Foundation. Coleman also has been a guest lecturer at many universities, and was a visiting artist at the University of Wisconsin (October 1992). 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).
Among his ongoing projects are concerts with musicians from many parts of
the globe. New projects such as “Kyoto In_Ex” and “KKL”
explore music’s relationship with video and architecture. With musicians
from the Tokyo experimental music scene and traditional Japanese musicians
he has created the group “Ensemble N_JP”. These and other projects
have brought Coleman and his music to many audiences in Europe, Asia and North
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 and many others. He has recorded with Jim O'Rourke and Mats Gustaffson for the Okka Disc label (1995), music by Anthony Braxton and Gulliermo Gregorio for the Hat Art label (1998) and three CDs for Leo Records with John Wolf Brennan (1999, 2000 and 2005). Coleman has also recorded and performed with the experimental rock group Gastr del Sol (1995/96), 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. He is currently working on CDs of his compositions for the German label GROB, which also released “Concert in St. Louis” (with Coleman, Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M. and Franz Hautzinger) in October 2004.
Gene Coleman is also known for his work as a curator and artistic director of new music programs and festivals. He founded the new and experimental music festival "Sound Field" in Chicago in 2000 and is the artistic director. 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. 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, Roscoe Mitchell, Vinko Globokar, Yuji Takahashi, Otomo Yoshihide, Malcolm Goldstein, Burkhard Stangl, Karlheinz Essl, Gulliermo Gregorio, Gerhard Staebler, Kunsu Shim, Mathias Spahlinger and many others.