Gene Coleman is a composer and artistic director of Soundfield, NFP and the group Ensemble N_JP


Gene Coleman is a composer, musician and director. He is the recipient of the 2013 Berlin Prize in Music Composition and has created over 50 compositions for various instrumentation and media. Since 2001 his work has focused on global culture and music's relationship with architecture, video and dance. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with experimental filmmakers Stan Brakhage and Ernie Gehr, and Robert Snyder for music. He was composer in residence at the American Academy in Rome (Fall 2011), Shofuso House Philadelphia (2009), Westwerk in Hamburg (2007), Taipei Artists Village (2007), Irtijal Festival in Beirut (2005), Takefu Music Festival (2002) and in Tokyo (2001 Japan-US Fellowship). Over the years he has collaborated with a wide range of musicians and composers; from Jim O'Rourke and Otomo Yoshihide to Helmut Lachenmann and George Crumb. Many groups have commissioned his music and film work and presented it around the world, including Klangforum Wien, The Japan Society, The Ernst von Siemens Foundation, Chamber Music Now, Network for New Music, Ensemble On-Line, Phace Contemporary, I-House Philadelphia, E-Mex Ensemble, Tom Buckner, MoMA, The Crossing, Maerzmusik Festival and others. More info at: and

Describe your music

*2014: “Horizon” for Voice with Chinese and Western instruments and video projections (Sheng, Guzheng, Pipa, Erhu, Voice, Bass Clarinet, Violin, Viola and Cello (35’). Commissioned by Thomas Buckner. Premiere in Fall 2014 in New York and Philadelphia, with additional performances in San Francisco, Hong Kong and Shenzhen TBA.


2013: Sendai Transmissions, for ensemble and multi screen video projections (34’). Commissioned with funds from the Graham Foundation and supported by The Japan Foundation. Premier of Part 1 on October 17 at Roulette Intermedia (Brooklyn NY), premiere of Part 2 at The Krannert Center (University of IL at Urbana) on October 22nd 2013. Played by Ensemble N_JP, conducted by Adam Vidiksis (NY) and Stephen Taylor (Urbana).


*2013: Water of the Last Moment for 24 voices, Sho and Live Electronics (35’) to be premiered on June 15th 2013 as part of the Month of Moderns Festival. Commissioned by The Crossing with funds from the Philadelphia Music Project.


*2013: Spiral Network for Japanese instruments, baritone voice, ensemble, electronics and video projections (22’). Funded in part by The Japan Foundation and The American Academy in Berlin. World Premiere at The Maerzmusik Festival in Berlin on March 18th 2013, US premier on June 7th 2013 at International House Philadelphia, New York Premiere on October 17th 2013 at Roulette Intermedia


*2013: “A Page of Madness” music for the Japanese silent film (a new score, different from the 2010 version) for Japanese and Western instruments (Sho, Koto, Bass Clarinet, E-Guitar, Violin, Viola and Cello (60’). Commissioned by the Phace Ensemble and the Maerzmusik Festival, premiered by members of N_JP and Phace Ensemble on March 18th (Berlin) and March 20th (Konzerthaus Vienna) 2013


*2012: Our Private Sky for e-guitar and trombone (15’). Commissioned by the Archer Spade Duo and premiered by them on April 28th 2012 at International House Philadelphia


*2012: “9 Chains...” for ensemble and video projections (for Sho, Koto, Live Electronics, Bass Clarinet, E-Guitar and Cello (26’). Premiered by Ensemble N_JP on April 28 2012 at International House Philadelphia, then at The University of Illinois at Urbana on October 25th and The Renaissance Society in Chicago on October 28th. Commissioned by The University of Illinois and The William Penn Foundation / American Composers Forum, Philadelphia Chapter.


*2012: UZU NO for ensemble (sho, koto, vln, vla, vcl), Premiered Feb. 12 in Berlin by the Asianart Ensemble, conducted by Il-Ryun Chung


*2011-12: “Kyoto_Naigai” for Western and Japanese instruments with video projections (Sho, 2 Kotos, Electronics, Bass Clarinet, Trombone, E-guitar, Cello, Dbl. Bass – 35’). Premiere of 1st version in April 2011 at International House Philadelphia as part of PIFA (Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts) by Ensemble N_JP, conducted by Adam Vidiksis. *Midwest premiere of 2nd version on December 8th 2011 at The University of Illinois at Urbana, played by N_JP conducted by Rei Hotoda, followed by east coast premiere at I-House PHL on April 28th, 2012


*2011: “Wave upon Wave” for Western and Japanese instruments with video projections (Sho, Koto, Electronics, Clarinet, Piano, E-Guitar, Cello and Dbl. Bass – 21’). Premiered April 2011 at International House Philadelphia as part of PIFA (Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts) by Ensemble N_JP, conducted by Adam Vidikis.


*2011: ”Diary of Water” for koto and ensemble (13’). Commissioned by Chamber Music Now and premiered on March 20 and 21 at St. Joseph’s University (Philadelphia).


*2010: “A Page of Madness” (1st version) music for the film, for ensemble, solo shakuhachi and bass clarinet (60’). Commissioned by the International House of Philadelphia in honor of its 100th anniversary. Ensemble N_JP with special guest Akikazu Nakamura (shakuhachi). Premiered on October 22 2010 at International House Philadelphia and October 23 at The Museum of Modern Art New York by Ensemble N_JP, conducted by Rei Hotoda.


*2009: “Ding-Dong” for 7 voices and ensemble, on texts by Hendrik Jackson (22’). Premiered on November 24th 2009 by Sing Academy Zu Berlin with Audrey Chen (cello) and Gene Coleman (bass clarinet) at Elizabeth Church, Berlin.


*2009: Hyper Sensory Dream for ensemble and video projections, for the Chai Found Music Workshop (Taiwan) *Sheng, Dizi, Pipa, Guzheng, Erhu, Clarinet, Cello, (21’)


*2009: “Sub Augusta” for Ensemble On-Line Vienna, (Flute, Clarinet, Piano, Violin, Cello and electronics (16’), premiered at the Austrian Cultural Forum, May 5th 2009 and in Philadelphia May 2nd at Rock Hall (Temple University). Commissioned by Ensemble On_Line


*2009: “Future City 未來城市” for Chinese Ensemble, string quartet and multiple screen video projections (21’), for the Chai Found Instrument Ensemble (Taiwan). Premiered on April 19th at Queens Theater, New York by JACK Quartet and Chai Found Music.


*2009: “I, Radio” for ensemble, voices and electronics (for the NEXUSradio Project). Ensemble Noamnesia, directed by Gene Coleman. Commissioned by Nexus Gallery, Philadelphia.


*2009: “Pachinko-Zen II” for speaker, ensemble and electronics (sho, koto, bass clarinet, percussion, violin, cello and CD playback – 18’). Played by Ensemble N_JP, with texts by Nicole Bindler.


*2008: “Gadget” for Ensemble (Commissioned by Network for New Music, Philadelphia). Premiered November 21, 2008 at Nexus Gallery, PHL. *Bass Flute (+ picc), Bass Clarinet (+ Eb Clar.), Percussion, Cello and Dbl. Bass (17’)


*2008: “TOMBO” for Gagaku instruments and ensemble with video projections. Commissioned by the Japan Society, New York. Premiered on October 10th, 2008 at the Japan Society, played by Ensemble N_JP, conducted by Thaddeus Squire. (Sho, Ryuteki, Hichiriki, E-Guitar, Bass Clarinet and Cello (17’)


Additional info

Is it possible to understand the complex process we call globalization through the arts? Is it possible for people from different cultures to understand each other better through artistic experiences? And how are those experiences shaped by ideas about innovation, tradition and new media? As a composer and director I ask these questions and that is why I created the organization Soundfield and the group Ensemble N_JP, which is made up of musicians from Japan and the USA. Using my interest in the culture of Japan and Asia and the relationship between music with other art forms, I explore the spaces between sound and vision and introduce new ways of thinking about global culture.