Todd Coleman is a composer, bassist, and educator. His compositions range from the contemporary "Classical" concert music tradition to film music, to pop music, often defying simple categorizations. Some of his works incorporate visual elements such as multiple projected layers of digital video interwoven with live performers and immersive surround digital audio, blending studio recording and film scoring techniques with prerecorded electronic music and live sound. Coleman has a long history in working at the intersection of technology and the arts, with many commissions and teaching opportunities that blur the boundaries between disciplines.
Coleman is an associate professor of music at Elon University in North Carolina and academic coordinator of the Music Production and Recording Arts program. Coleman taught at Grinnell College from 2003-07 and was a Curricular Technology Specialist in Fine Arts there from 2002-03.
B.M. in Composition, 1996
Brigham Young University
Studied composition with David Sargent, Michael Hicks, Stephen Jones, and Murray Boren. Studied bass with Walter Birkedahl.
about his music
“Masterly orchestral craftsmanship... a feel for odd, refreshing sonorities, and expressive speech... More power to composers like [this].” – John van Rhein, Chicago Tribune
“His music-making is naturally expressive and has an elegance that is compelling.” – Augusta Read Thomas
“I find his music strong, imaginative and well crafted.” – Joseph Schwantner
“[Coleman's music is] new and fresh without being unapproachable or tradition-bound... I found it to be touching and wondrous.” – Glen Nelson
“The melodic invention, the craftsmanship of the presentation and above all the sheer luminosity of the textures I find very attractive.” – David Tutt
“As usual, Coleman writes a music that is as intense as it is magical, as powerful as sensible. The solo seems to slowly, softly exit from the clouds of a dream to reach the final climax in the most natural, spontaneous way... There is a very intense singing, here, and a very clever play of timbres.” – Paulo Tramannoni
“Wow! Beautiful!” – Kim Wells
MUSIC PRODUCTION & RECORDING ARTS
As a composer, performer, producer, and recording engineer, Coleman practices the art of recording music in many styles and musical genres. This includes the elments of microphone choice and placement, preamplifiers, outboard gear such as compressors, fx plug-ins, and editing and mixing in commercial digital audio workstation software. Coleman has experience in both analog and digital recording, analog and digital synthesis, and MIDI. All of these topics fall under his creative and aesthetic interest in music and sound.
Coleman began playing the violin in 6th grade before switching to the cello, then to the contra bass. Throughout middle school, high school, and college, Coleman has played in the bass section of the top orchestras and served as principle of those orchestras. He also participated each year in regional and all-state orchestra festivals. He studied with Walter Birkedahl at Brigham Young University and James VanDermark at the Eastman School of Music.
The same year that Coleman took up the contra bass, he was handed a Fender Precision Bass and asked to play for the middle school jazz band. He began his self-study of the instrument learning songs by Rush, Chicago, and U2. He continues to play and gig regularly.
AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE
In the summer of 2004, Coleman began learning sign language to be able to communicate with deaf members of his local church congregation. He has come to love and appreciate the beauty, richness, and uniqueness of sign language, and continuously works to improve his skills in ASL.
LAOTIAN LANGUAGE & CULTURE
Coleman's experience with Laotian language and culture began with his call to serve a mission to Minnesota during the early 1990's. He received a two-month "crash course" in reading, writing, and speaking Laotian, followed by 22 months of service teaching (and being taught by) the Lao people of Minnesota. He served most of his mission in the Minneapolis area, but also served for a time in St. Cloud and Warroad. That experience and the people he met have greatly influenced and enriched his life. He continues to keep up his language skills as time allows and to try and maintain contact with the Lao community in whatever area he resides.
Coleman began learning web design skills during the early days of the Internet, including HTML authoring and image editing software programs. These skills, in combination with related experience in video and multimedia CD-ROM authoring led to Coleman's position as a Curricular Technology Specialist in Fine Arts at Grinnell College from 2002-2003. During that time, he assisted faculty members at the College in conceptualizing, designing, and implementing a variety of technology-based pedagogical tools including websites, Flash modules, Director projects for CD-ROM and web delivery, multimedia presentation, Podcasts, etc.