Founding Conductor & Artistic Director
Seattle native Freddie Coleman was the Founding Director of the Seattle Choral Company in 1982, and he now is in his 35th year as their Conductor and Artistic Director. He began music studies as a flutist at the age of ten, and became a member of the acclaimed Seattle Youth Symphony and later, the University of Washington Symphony. His instructors included Felix Skowronek (University of Washington), Sydney Zeitlin (Seattle Symphony), and Julius Baker (New York Philharmonic).
He pursued both flute and voice at the University of Washington and at the Cornish Institute. His vocal instructors included Robert Peterson, Augusto Paglialunga, and William Eddy. He started working with choral groups in 1973, and later directed choirs at Shoreline Community College. He graduated from the University of Washington with college honors and attended choral master classes with Daniel Moe, Lloyd Pfautsch, Richard Sparks, Dale Warland, and Robert Shaw. He was invited to sing under Maestro Shaw’s baton at Carnegie Hall for the Carnegie Centennial Year. In the summer of 1998, he participated in Mr. Shaw’s last Summer Festival Institute at Furman University.
Coleman assisted KCTS Public Television as a special events coordinator, where he produced and promoted major public events to generate community awareness of public television, as well as to raise funds.
His volunteer work in the community has earned him awards from the Seattle Jaycees, the North Seattle Kiwanis, and the American Choral Directors Association. He served as president of the Puget Sound Choral Conductor’s Guild, and is a current board member of the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium. In 2001 Coleman worked with the Seattle Sesquicentennial Committee to produce Seattle’s only concert event to celebrate the 150th year of the founding of the city of Seattle. For that event, he commissioned American composer William Hawley to compose an extended oratorio for large chorus, symphony orchestra, and soloists based on the famed oration of Chief Seattle. In 2002 he produced and conducted Eastside Remembers, together with the Bellevue Square Merchants Association, to observed the first anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.
In Seattle, he regularly prepares choruses for classical and Pops programs, led by such conductors as Doc Severinsen, Marvin Hamlisch, Steven Reineke (New York Pops), Gerard Schwarz, Stewart Kershaw, and Stephen Rogers Radcliffe. He shaped the Seattle Choral Company into an innovative and collaborative symphonic chorus that appears with the Seattle Symphony, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and the Seattle Youth Symphony. In March of 2016 Coleman began an ongoing collaborative relationship with the conductors of the Northwest Sinfonietta. Past performances with the NWS have included Haydn's Mass in Time of War and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. In May of this season, the SCC will join the NWS in Mozart's Requiem.
Coleman and his singers also participated in such recent touring productions as Star Wars in Concert and Video Games Live. You’ll hear their voices on dozens of promotional film tracks, including King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Planet of the Apes.
Coleman has led the Seattle Choral Company in such masterworks as Orff’s Carmina Burana, Verdi’s Requiem, Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor, Prokofieff’s Alexander Nevsky, and Bach’s St. John Passion. His finely tuned yet spirited performances have captured the praise of audiences and critics alike. In addition to leading countless performances of standard master works, he has championed America’s finest contemporary choral composers, bringing to local audiences works by Philip Glass, William Hawley, Morten Lauridsen, Frank Ferko, Abbie Betinis, William Averitt, Steven Sametz, and Seattle composers Donald Skirvin, Bern Herbolsheimer, and Eric Barnum. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer recently applauded this commitment, stating that “Coleman has always had an adventurous mind when it comes to programming. It’s not surprising that he would devote an entire program to contemporary music. He has long been an advocate for living composers.”