Ancora is honored to have Freddie Coleman serve as our Interim Artistic Director for the 2017-18 season. Highly respected in the Seattle choral community, Freddie has longed to direct a women’s choir.
An accomplished, creative conductor with forty-five years of performing experience, Freddie Coleman is able to coax enthusiastic and passionate performances from both choirs and orchestras. His engaging style is apparent to singers, players and audiences, alike. He has a wealth of experience in the a cappella and symphonic choral repertory. He has long been admired in the Pacific Northwest region as a gifted and innovative artistic director who brought his choral organization to the forefront of Seattle’s arts scene in a remarkably short time.
A Seattle native, Freddie took up the flute at age ten, and 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.
Freddie founded the Seattle Choral Company in 1982, and he now is in his 35th year as the Conductor and Artistic Director. Over the years, he has 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. Freddie has led the 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 masterworks, 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.”
Q: What is your musical background?
A: I have been a Seattle resident all my life, and I am a part of the incredible growth and changes in our local music scene over the past 20 or 30 years. I was originally trained as a flutist and was a member of the Seattle Youth Symphony. I entered the UW intending to become a professional instrumentalist, and without warning, I became smitten with singing, choral directing, and working with vocalists. My studies included coursework at the UW, where I completed my undergraduate music core and advanced master classes with America’s finest choral musicians (Daniel Moe, Lloyd Pfautch, Dale Warland, and Robert Shaw). Above all, I have nearly 45 years of working experience as a choral musician to draw upon.
Q: Why do you choose to live in Seattle?
A: I have chosen to live in Seattle all my life because the arts community keeps growing, changing, and bringing linkages to influences and peoples from all over the world. While it presents some challenges, the choral community in greater Seattle is huge given the population base. I happen to like the climate here, as well!
Q: What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
A: (1) Singing under the baton of Maestro Robert Shaw.
(2) Having mentored so many choral singers and performers in our city over the years. I have been a noted influence on the local choral scene.
(3) Directing the Seattle Choral Company for so many years and watching it evolve and adapt to so many economic and artistic changes.
(4) The honor I received from Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels on “Maestro Freddie Coleman Day,” in June of 2007.
(5) Having met the love of my life, Bryan Turner. We will be wed on August 4, 2018.
Q: What are your hobbies and interests outside of music?
A: Outside of music, it’s all about food! I love to cook, to explore new recipes and cuisines. I love to entertain friends in my home. I also love to learn about new languages. I absorb foreign languages quite easily, and I will inflict that passion onto Ancora before long! (Oh…I mustn’t forget travel and shopping for clothes.)