Coleman’s love affair with music began very early on. His mother Karen, a professional ballerina says Coleman has been responding to music since before he was born. Fostering his love of music, his parents bought him his first violin at the tender age of 3 at which time he began studying the Suzuki Violin Method. During his formidable years in the Suzuki Program, Coleman became one of the youngest people ever accepted to the Fort Worth Youth Orchestra, eventually having solo performances with the Dallas Fort Worth Pops Orchestra.
In his youth Coleman traveled across the nation studying various styles of fiddle music as well as competing in some of the most prestigious fiddle contests, eventually becoming one of the nations top competitors and winning the World Series of Twin Fiddling with his brother Ethan Smith. After studying with a variety of iconic teachers and mentors such as The Texas Playboys including Eldon Shamblin, Bobby Cofer, Leon Rouch, and such fiddle legends Johnny Gimble, Bob Boatwright, Frankie McWhorther, Dale Morris and Randy Elmore, and including country legends Asleep at the Wheel, Curtis Potter, and Tony Booth, he decided to make his passion his life’s work.
Coleman was awarded a full Presidential scholarship to the music department at Marywood University where he studied music performance and minored in music pedagogy graduating Cum Laude. While at University Coleman conducted four years with the Marywood University String Project studying under Master Teachers, Mary Catherine Gallagher and Amy Christian. In addition to his conducting experience, Coleman was an avid performer in and around North East Pennsylvania with his cousin, renowned bassist and jazz bandleader, Doug Smith.
Since his time in college, Coleman has been teaching private and group lessons, as well as conducting youth symphonies and orchestral classes. Coleman founded Wise Music Academy over 10 years ago and has been a community leader and advocate for the fine arts in his hometown of Decatur, Texas. As the Founding Musical Director for the Bridgeport Foundation for the Arts, Coleman was able to marry his passion with purpose by forming the first youth symphony in Wise County.
Soon after graduating college Coleman began performing with a wide-range of musicians including pop sensation Clay Akin, Broadway superstar Ramin Karimloo, jamgrass sensations The Drew Emit Band, and Tim Carbone and was eventually hired on by the Internationally touring bluegrass band Hickory Project. It was during this time where he met guitarist and vocalist Mark Morris. The two musicians soon became best friends, leading to the formation of their own band, Rapidgrass, in 2009.
Coleman has a unique style that fuses Gypsy Swing, Jazz, Celtic, Bluegrass and Texas Fiddle, all from a classical perspective. Currently, Coleman travels the world, including an annual tour throughout Europe where he both performs and teaches workshops for Europe’s largest bluegrass festival, La Roche Bluegrass Festival. You can catch Coleman performing with his band Rapidgrass at some of the nation’s hottest music festivals including their own music festivals, Clear Creek Rapidgrass and Rapids & Grass in Buena Vista, Colorado. Coleman has had guest appearances with a wide variety of popular bands including but not limited to Leftover Salmon, Roy Williams & The Human Hands, Billy Cardine, Jeff Austin Band, and Pheobe Hunt & The Gatherers. Together with Rapidgrass Coleman has also had the pleasure of sharing the stage with David Grisman, Jeff Austin, Peter Rowan, Pete Wernick, Alex Hargreaves, Luke Bulla, and Dierks Bentley. Coleman was recently featured in Fretboard Magazine for the work he is doing in India with the Bluegrass Journeymen. Download a free PDF version of the article here.