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.

Todd Coleman


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.

M.M. in Composition, 1999
Eastman School of Music
Studied Composition with Joseph Schwantner and David Liptak. Studied bass with James VanDemark.

D.M.A. in Composition, 2002
Eastman School of Music
Studied Composition with Joseph Schwantner, Christopher Rouse and Augusta Read Thomas. Studied bass with James VanDemark.


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




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.



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.



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.



discography & publications

Music from the Film Satori | by General Pictures
2019 | buy on iTunes


Composed the musical score.


Hear My Call | by Eliza Spear
2019 | buy on iTunes

Hear My Call

Produced, engineered, and played bass, guitars, ukulele, and keyboards.


Cut My Hair | by Eliza Spear
2019 | buy on iTunes

Cut My Hair

Produced, engineered, and played bass, guitars, and keyboards.


Country Girl (In a Rock n Roll World) | by Frank Hurd Band
2016 | buy on iTunes

Cut My Hair

co-writer, music and lyrics


Pressed for Time | EP by Frank Hurd
2012 | buy on iTunes

April Clayton

Played bass guitar on Something About You, By Your Side, I Remember Love, and August Moon.


Flute Horizons | April Clayton
2012 | buy on iTunes

April Clayton
Composed tracks 8-10, Flute Concerto: I. Rondo/Scherzo, II. Recitando, III. Finale.


Patchwork | Elon University Catholic Campus Ministry
2008 | buy on Elon University website


Composed track 4: Adieu.


Ever Elon | Elon University Music Department
2007 | not for sale


Composed music for main theme song. Produced and mixed all tracks. Played bass guitar, contrabass, and keyboards.


The Colors of Sound | BYU Chamber Orchestra
1996 | buy on Amazon


Played contrabass (principle) on all tracks.


A Thanksgiving of American Folk Hymns | BYU Choirs and Philharmonic Orchestra
1995 | buy on Amazon

Played contrabass (section) on all tracks.


MORMONIANA, Paperback Edition | Grant Johannesen
2005 | buy on Amazon

Includes the complete score of sixteen compositions, the reproductions of the artworks that the composers selected, the CD recording, the essay, and the original editioned print. This paperback edition is NOT numbered nor is it specifically limited. 116 pages.


2005 | buy on Amazon


Includes a 16 page booklet : includes the 5 minute piano version of Coleman's Exquisite Corpse.


Mormoniana, Collector's Edition | Mormon Artists Group
2004 | sold out

Composed Exquisite Corpse. Played piano, cello and mixed on Exquisite Corpse


Teaching Music through Performance in Orchestra | GIA Publications
2004 | buy from AIG

Wrote article on Adieu discussing performance practice and composer background.