A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Valerie Coleman began her music studies at the age of eleven and by the age of fourteen, had written three symphonies and won several local and state competitions. Valerie is not only the founder of Imani Winds, but is a resident composer of the ensemble, giving Imani Winds their signature piece Umoja (which is listed as one of the "Top 101 Great American Works" by Chamber Music America). In addition to her significant contributions to wind quintet literature, Valerie has a works list for various winds, brass, strings and full orchestra published by International Opus and in the near future, Theodore Presser.
Prior to her solo debut at Carnegie Hall, Valerie was the understudy for flutist Eugenia Zukerman at Lincoln Center, featured soloist in the Mannes 2000 Bach Festival, two-time laureate of the Young Artist Competition at Boston University, recipient of the Aspen Music Festival Wombwell Kentucky Award, and was the inaugural recipient of the Michelle E. Sahm Memorial Award at the Tanglewood Festival. Recently, she appeared as guest artist at the Chenango Music Festival, teaching artist for Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, was recipient of Meet the Composer's Edward and Sally Van Lier Memorial Award, and was showcased on the New York classical radio station WQXR. Most Recently, she is a recipient of the Multi-Arts Production Fund - a grant given to "support innovative new works in all disciplines and traditions of performing arts."
Valerie has a Double Bachelor's degree in Theory/Composition and Flute Performance from Boston University and a Master's degree in Flute Performance from the Mannes College of Music. She studied flute with Julius Baker, Alan Weiss, and Mark Sparks; composition with Martin Amlin and Randall Woolf; and has served on the faculty of The Juilliard School's Music Advancement Program and Interschool Orchestras of New York. Currently, she is on the advisory panel of the National Flute Association.