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Kwami Coleman

Assistant Professor
(212) 992-6323
533 - 1 Wash Pl

Office Hours
Tuesday 4:00-6:00 (BY APPT)
Thursday 4:00-6:00 (BY APPT)

B.A. & M.A., Music and Musicology, Hunter College, CUNY, 2007
Ph.D., Musicology, Stanford University, 2014

Kwami Coleman is a musician, composer, producer, and musicologist specializing in improvised music. His research interests include experimental music history, jazz history, the African Diaspora, the political economy of music, music technology, aesthetics, and cultural studies.   Coleman's current book project, in production, is titled Change: The "New Thing" and Modern Jazz. His 2017 album, Local Music, features original music written for trio and field recordings. He is also working on an ongoing project of electronic music.   Coleman was a founding member of the Afro-Latin@ Forum, a non-profit organization devoted to the study and increased visibility of Latinos of African descent created by the late Juan Flores and Miriam Jiménez Román.

Performances, Productions, Exhibitions & Releases


13TEENTH FL: A Place Made by Playing

Kwami Coleman’s 13TEENTH FL: A Place Made by Playing honors showcases the experimental music that once energized the streets around NYU. This music was inspired by the loft jazz era and created space for musicians, including Coleman’s pianist father, to experiment with their peers and for audiences to witness their creativity up close. Coleman is celebrating the era—which he describes as “a moment of great revolution” in his exhibition showcased at  Gallatin Galleries in 2023. 



Kwami Coleman premiered piece "ECHOES | GESTURES | ABOLITION" commissioned by Studio Museum of Harlem/Fortune Society at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. This program pays homage to the many Black musicians who created music while incarcerated, and who have used their music as a way of processing, releasing, and protesting our prison system.

Grants & Fellowships


Career Enhancement Fellowship

Kwami Coleman was named a 2020 Career Enhancement Fellows by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, which aims to create career development opportunities for selected faculty fellows with promising research projects.  

Teaching and Research Interests

improvised music; twentieth and twenty-first century music; experimental and electronic music; music technology and mass media; aesthetics and historiography; diasporic studies; race and ethnicity; modernity and postmodernity 

Recent News


Coleman is the recipient of an honorable mention for the 2022 American Musicological Society, H. Robeter Cohen / RIPM Award. 

Coleman is the recipient of a 2020 Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship.


The Studio Museum, in collaboration with The National Jazz Museum in Harlem, has released Kwami Coleman's soundscape, “Echoes | Gestures | Abolition.”. This program pays homage to the many Black muscians who created music while incarcerated, and who have used their music as a way of processing, releasing, and protesting our prison system. 

In February 2017, Gallatin Faculty member Kwami Coleman released the Kwami Coleman Trio's debut jazz album Local Music. The release features 10 original compositions, some of which interpolate field recordings that captured between 2014-2016 in Coleman's neighborhood of Harlem.


Coleman premiered the electric piano piece “Pregonera” along with a selection of prepared audio at the University of New Mexico’s Department of Music on March 7, 2020.

Coleman premiered the piece, “Past Leaves (Peanuts),” a 30-minute piece for electric piano, drum set, with prepared audio for a Black History Month event series by the Black Studies Department at The University of Missouri on February 15, 2020.


Coleman contributed the chapter “If Beale Street Could Talk, what’d be playing in the background? First notes on music, film, time and memory” for Transmedia Directors: Artistry, Industry, and New Audiovisual Aesthetics (Bloomsbury Press, December 2019).

His article “Everyone's Creative: George E. Lewis and Ubiquitous Improvisation,” was published in the Teachers College Record, Vol. 117, No. 10.

Coleman was invited as a keynote lecturer for the Graduate Student Symposium at Yale University’s Music Department on February 28-29, 2020.

Coleman spoke at Stanford University’s “Cardinal Chat,” held by The Fourth Annual Stanford University Black Alumni Summit at The Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, CA on April 5, 2019.

Coleman was invited to “Heterophony: Texture, Technique, and Social Commentary,” part of the Musicology Colloquium Series at The University of Mexico in Albuquerque, NM, on March 7, 2019.

Kwami Coleman

Kwami Coleman Trio's debut jazz album Local Music

Kwami Coleman Trio's debut jazz album Local Music