Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


School of Music

Committee Chair

Nina Assimakopoulous

Committee Member

Matthew Heap

Committee Member

Cynthia Anderson

Committee Member

Erin Ellis

Committee Member

Joshua Williamson


The purpose of this research document is to examine elements of musical hybridity and cultural influences in renowned African-American flutist-composer Valerie Coleman’s Wish Sonatine and Fanmi Imèn for solo flute and piano. Prominently known for her chamber music works, Coleman describes her compositional style as “urban-classical,” which infuses elements of popular American styles into modern Western art music traditions to highlight and encapsulate the cultural experiences of various diasporas of our time.

The most significant elements of hybridity and cultural influences examined in Wish Sonatine and Fanmi Imèn are programmatic imagery and compositional motifs. The programmatic imagery is represented through Coleman’s creation of narrative tone poems by transforming poems by Fred D’Aguiar and Maya Angelou into music. This creates a specific storyline and mood in the listener’s mind. The melodic motifs serve as a compositional tool to create melody, rhythm, and harmonies that encompass influences from both inside and outside of the traditional realms of classical music. This study uses the hybridity inherent in Coleman’s style to create an analytical framework to explore her works for flute and piano.