Francis Coleman

Francis Arthur Coleman, television producer, administrator, conductor, writer (born 12 January 1924 in Montréal, QC; died 10 April 2008 in London, England).

Francis Arthur Coleman, television producer, administrator, conductor, writer (born 12 January 1924 in Montréal, QC; died 10 April 2008 in London, England). Francis Coleman abandoned a career as an orchestral conductor to produce music and arts programs at CBC Television. After a prolific career there in the 1950s, he moved to London, England, where he worked with the BBC, ATV, BBC2, ITV and Thames TV. His production of Britten's Saint Nicolas cantata received the Prix Italia in 1977.

Education and Early Career

After studying viola and conducting at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec in Montréal, Coleman attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He then studied conducting under Pierre Monteux in Maine (1948–50). In 1949, he co-founded the Minute Opera Theatre in Montréal with Noël Gauvin and Gilles Potvin and conducted some of its productions. From 1949 to 1952, he was music director of the newly formed Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Career Highlights

In 1952, he became a producer and program director for CBC TV in Montréal, where he was involved in some 500 programs. In 1958 he moved to London, England, where he produced arts programs for the BBC and French education shorts for ATV. He became senior producer of music and arts at the newly launched BBC2 (now BBC Two) in 1964, head of religious, children's and education programmes at ITV in 1968, and then head of schools programs and head of arts at Thames TV. His production of Britten's Saint Nicolas cantata in 1976 for Thames received the coveted Prix Italia in 1977.

Coleman wrote articles for several Canadian, British, and American periodicals, and was the author of Bluff Your Way in Opera and Bluff Your Way in Ballet (London, 1969). He also wrote music criticism for Inside London and for the Montréal Star. In 1978, he was the London correspondent for Musicanada. He served on many boards and advisory panels and also taught at film schools. He was the father of actors Lisa Coleman and Charlotte Coleman.

A version of this entry originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.


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