The early September night came in as a cool welcome from the humid summer weeks previous. As the audience sat and watched the orchestra play, the presence of David Coleman beautifully playing the music of George Gershwin caught the attention of everyone sitting on the lawn in front of the Hatch Shell.
About David Coleman
David Coleman, accomplished accompanist, composer, choir director and pianist, performed George Gershwin’s, Rhapsody in Blue on September 3, 2021 at the Landmarks Orchestra’s program, “Rhapsody in Blue & American Portraits” as one of our featured performers. The following is from the biography provided for our program that night:
David F. Coleman has a Bachelor’s degree in Piano Performance & Composition from Boston University and a Master’s degree in Composition from Tufts University. He serves as Associate Professor at Boston Conservatory, Director of Choral Music at the Dana Hall School, Lecturer of Music at Tufts University, and Minister of Music at Greater Framingham Community Church.
In 2021 he was a featured artist with the Boston Pops in their “The Roots of Jazz” program. He has served as Music Director and Rehearsal Pianist for regional theater productions, including The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2012 Tony Award for Best Revival) and Choir Boy (2020 Elliot Norton Award Nomination for Outstanding Musical Direction). He has been Choirmaster and pianist for the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, Mariah Carey, Bobby McFerrin, Patti Labelle, Phish, and Academy Award Nominee Ryan Gosling. Mr. Coleman has performed at venues including House of Blues, the Wang Center, Fenway Park, Symphony Hall, the Vatican, Carnegie Hall and the White House.
Mr. Coleman is a sought-after accompanist for all genres of music, providing work for the Tanglewood Music Center, MIT, Harvard University, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He has received two 2013 New England Urban Music Awards, and was the 2007 recipient of the Thomas A. Dorsey Award from the New England Conservatory. In 2010, he was featured in BBC World News America’s “First Person” series, broadcast to 300 million people worldwide.
We had the chance to receive wise words from Mr. Coleman in a short video that made the rounds on our social media over the summer. Below we will transcribe some of the highlights to learn more about this great accompanist, pianist and musician.
The Importance of Being Gershwin
George Gershwin certainly shared in that mission as he took popular music and theatre music and he aspired to share that with the world of the established classical music symphony orchestra we have today. An American in Paris, we have Rhapsody in Blue, we have Porgy and Bess. We have his Concerto in F. And it created a real sense of American pride hearing those sonorities that are African-American in derivation and now existing within the world of a classically European symphony orchestra. And me, myself have been able to, I’ve been surrounded by Gershwin’s music my entire life, growing up as a piano student. I played George Gershwin’s preludes for piano. I played different rags by him as a theatre music director. I’ve done productions of Crazy for You. I’ve done Gershwin’s first musical, Blue Monday, and I serve as a pianist on the Tony Award-winning 2012 production, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.
Different Music, Different Cultures – Uniting Us
As a composer, a pianist and a choir director, I have the great gift and opportunity to work in schools, theatres and in churches and sharing different styles of music.
It’s a dream come true to be able to play Rhapsody in Blue this week with the Landmarks Orchestra. Be able to play that piece with a live orchestra and to play it during this time in our nation’s history. Boston Landmarks Orchestra, of course has a mission to do the very same thing, taking different cultures and different communities and bringing us closer together by celebrating the different music that normally wouldn’t find themselves together on the same concert program.
We were so thrilled to collaborate with such an amazing guest artist. If you missed the performance with David Coleman at our September 3rd concert, you can still learn more about him at: https://bostonconservatory.berklee.edu/directory/david-freeman-coleman. Thanks for reading and joining us along this journey in our first ever Musician Spotlight!