Afro-Cuban Concerto for Wind Quintet

Valerie Coleman was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in the same neighborhood as Muhammed Ali. She began music lessons at ten, and by fourteen she had three symphonies to her credit. Her music combines her African-American heritage with contemporary instrumental sounds.

As a premier flautist, Valerie has been featured as a performer and composer on many of the world’s great concert stages: Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Walt Disney Hall, Wigmore Hall, and the Juilliard, Eastman, Curtis, and Peabody music schools.

Afro-Cuban Concerto for Wind Quintet is an inviting virtuoso tour de force in three roughly five minute movements: Afro (based on the Afro-Cuban clave rhythm), Vocalize (prayer evolving into a hot Havana day) and Dānza (quick rumba with variations). Valerie’s ingeniously varied instrumental combinations are deliciously spicy. French horn with oboe? Then with bassoon? Good stuff. Each player gets significant individual time in the sun, as well as on the dance floor. The Los Angeles Times called this work “An engaging showpiece featuring deftly woven polyrhythmic lines.” The New York Times described it as “skillfully wrought, buoyant music.”

About her music, Valerie says, “The human experience is something that is very important to the reason that I write. I also see writing as a means to create unity – creating love. When there is love on the stage, it just radiates out. Such music has the potential to change lives. It has the potential to create a sense of well-being in a person. It is almost therapeutic. I do not write for myself. It’s all about sharing the experience to make people around me better for it. Writing is connecting with something greater than yourself. It is a way of touching the divine.”