Composer Spotlight: Valerie Coleman



Spotlight on Umoja

Emer McDonough, Principal Flute of the RPO says: ‘Umoja means “unity” in Swahili. The close intertwining of voices evokes this unity, warmth and harmony. The undulating and soothingly constant lilt is shared equally through the ensemble and lends an effortless momentum to the piece. It has such a fresh, joyous and yet simultaneously mellow character. Each instrument has its own moment to shine and embellish above the constant theme and accompaniment. It’s simply a joy to play and to listen to.’



Heralded by the Washington Post as ‘one of the Top 35 Women Composers’ and named as Performance Today’s 2020 Classical Woman of the Year, award-winning American composer and flautist Valerie Coleman has forged a unique path. A hugely talented performer and dedicated teacher, she is also the founder of the groundbreaking wind quintet Imani Winds. As a composer, has produced a wide range of original works that have redefined wind chamber music. Drawing on subjects from human trafficking and Roma tribes to the Mississippi Delta and Morse code, her compositions are both inspiring and relevant, speaking in her own compelling voice.


More music to explore…

Listen out for Phenomenal Women for wind quintet and orchestra, Red Clay and Mississippi Delta for wind quintet and Danza de la Mariposa for solo flute.


Find out more…


Valerie Coleman’s Umoja was performed on Wed 14 Oct 2020, 1.15pm at Cadogan Hall.


Discover other composers featured in the Spotlight Series here.