Randolph Coleman

Randolph Coleman

Emeritus Professor of Composition
and Music Theory

Educational Background

  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia did work in creative writing (the second year in a seminar with William Faulkner - 1955-57)
  • Northwestern University - B.M., 1960
  • Northwestern Unioeraity - M.M., 1961
  • Northwestern University - D.M., 1963
  • Teachers: Anthony Donato (composition); Arrand Parsons (theory); John Ohl (musicology); plus brief private study with Aaron Copland and Roger Sessions

Brief Biography:
Randolph Coleman was born and bred in the south (Charlottesville, Virginia), educated in the Midwest (mostly Northwestern University), has taught mostly in the mideast (Oberlin, Ohio) and has lived abroad for extended periods (in France, Spain, Italy, Mexico, and England).

His music has received many honors (Fromm Foundation, International Society for Contemporary Music, the Fullbright Foundation, the Ohio State Arts Council and the Rockefeller Foundation among others) and has been performed by major organizations in the United States and Europe (among them the Boston Symphony, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Xenakis Ensemble, the Blackearth Percussion Ensemble, the Percussion Group Cincinnati, eighth blackbird ensemble). In 2002 he was awarded a residency at the Rockefeller Center in Bellagio, Italy. CD releases include dig.it iic performed and recorded by the Percussion Group Cincinnati.

Many dance companies (including the ODC from San Francisco, the Cleveland Repertory Theatre and the Cincinnati Dance Company) have choreographed and performed his music throughout he U.S., Europe and in many other foreign countries including China, Japan, Europe and Iceland.

He has collaborated in many theatre projects including the “Orestia” and “the Donner Party” with Herbert Blau and the experimental theatre company Kraken (which included among its members Bill Irwin and Julie Taymore).

The wide range of styles and genre of his music are the direct result of a life that has included performance (on piano and trombone), conducting new music and writing prose about many types of music (traditional chamber and symphonic music, Jazz, Rhythm and Blues and a variety of non-western musics) for NOTES (MLA Journal), Fine Arts and other journals. He has been on the faculty of the Oberlin Conservatory since 1965 directed the Interarts Program, and is frequently chair of the Composition Department. He was the founding chairman of the Society of Composers, Inc. (formerly the American Society of University Composers) and has had dozens of residencies at universities (among them the University of Michigan, University of Illinois, University of Texas, Yale University, Peabody Conservatory) and independent institutions  in the United States and Europe (the Benjamin Franklin Library in Mexico City, the Doge Palace in Venice).

Awards and Honors:
William Faricy Award for Creative Music, Northwestern University, 1960

International Society for Contemporary Music, awards in 1962, 1963

From Music Foundation, commission to write a work for the first American Music Festival at Tanglewood, 1964 (Concerto for Piano and Chamber Orchestra)

Bascom Little Fund 1962 for Soundprint VI (commissioned by Cleveland Chamber Symphony)

Research Status Award from Oberlin College 1971-72 writing a number of compositions

Research and Development Awards, from Oberlin 1973, 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980

Senior Fulbright Grant 1982

Commission by Brooklyn Philharmonic, Lukas Foss, conductor

Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation; Residency at the Rockefeller Institute in Bellagio, Italy, 2002

Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist’s Fellowship, 2002

Professional Affiliations:
Guest residencies at many universities. Assistant professor, Winthrop College, 1963-65; assistant professor of music theory, University of Texas, summer, 1965; assistant professor, music theory and composition, University of Michigan (Interlochen), summers, 1969, 1970; Senior Fulbright scholar, 1982. Former chairman, national council, American Society of University Composers.

Performances by Brooklyn Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Xenakis Ensemble, Cincinnati Percussion Group.