is a New York- and Boston-based composer and improvising keyboardist. Graduating with a B.M. from New England Conservatory and M.M. from Yale University, he has 20 CDs under his name and played on over 100 CDs. Anthony has been awarded scholarships from New York Foundation on the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and Meet the Composer, and received residencies from institutions including the Djerassi Colony and the Frei und Hansestadt Kulturbehörde of Hamburg, Germany.
Coleman also teaches at his alma mater, NEC, working with NEC's Contemporary Improvisation students. We invited the professor to talk about the institution, its distinction from other music schools, and share advice for future applicants.What makes New England Conservatory stand out
: Starting the interview with Composium, the first thing Anthony tells me about is that NEC included music other than classical long before most conservatories — approximately 50 years ago, to be exact.
- "A lot of conservatories in the last few years have decided to include music that's outside of classical music because they are playing catch up," he says. "New England Conservatory has been doing this since the 60s."
- That creates a different environment for those who want to participate in it.
- "In all honesty, I find it a little bit sad when someone comes [here] and doesn't pay attention to that aspect," the professor admits, explaining that even if you are a classical violin major and want to play in the orchestra for the rest of your life, limiting yourself as an artist isn't conducive to your growth.
- The departments speak very well with each other in general, so as an applicant, even if you aren't accepted as a piano major, the piano department might recommend you to the Contemporary Improvisation professors if they see you're a good fit.
- You can also split your studios, as Anthony calls it, and study half-time with a CI teacher and the other half-time with a classical piano one -- some students go as far as to switch their half-time all the time and end up studying with eight different people until they get their degree.