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Albert Coleman

Obituary Condolences

Family-Placed Death Notice

ALBERT COLEMAN Smyrna, Georgia Age 97 Albert Coleman, founder of the Atlanta Pops Orchestra, died November 27, 2007 at age 97. Born Alfred Emil Emmanuel Crosnier in Paris, France to a French musician father and Italian mother who performed as a bareback rider and tightrope walker, at age 7 Albert began playing the violin in circus and vaudeville performances with his parents throughout Europe. In 1917, he escaped Russia in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution by riding on top of a train from Siberia into China. As a young man, Albert continued traveling the world as a musician, entertainer and orchestra conductor, performing in the USA, Mexico, Canada, South Africa, and throughout Asia. Albert moved to Atlanta in 1944 when he was offered the position of Musical Director for WSB Radio Station. He founded the Atlanta Pops Orchestra in 1945, and its first concert was aired live on WSB from Emory's Glenn Memorial Hall. That year, with the support of then-Atlanta Mayor William B. Hartsfield, the Atlanta Pops Orchestra performed its first live free concert in the Fox Theatre to a packed house. Albert and the Atlanta Pops continued presenting free concerts to bring light classical and pops music to the public for over 50 more years until his retirement in 2002. Albert and his orchestra were featured at the openings of many Atlanta landmarks and celebrations, such as Chastain Park Amphitheatre (1952), the new Hartsfield International Airport (1980), Coca-Cola's Centennial Celebration (1986), and Underground Atlanta (1989) and backed numerous popular performers in concert, including Danny Kaye, Chet Atkins, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, Natalie Cole, Isaac Hayes, Lou Rawls and others. He was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1986 and received Grammy Award Nominations in 1982 and 1983 for his popular album ×Just Hooked on Country.× In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Atlanta Pops, Albert Coleman received commendations from then-Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, then-Governor Zell Miller and former President Jimmy Carter. For Albert, the awards and recognition were far less important than his life-long missions of providing opportunities for young performers to showcase their talents and sharing the joy and excitement of music free of charge to all who would listen. Albert often described his commitment to sharing his music as ×following his bliss,× in reference to one of his favorite quotes: ×if you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are - if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.× Albert will forever be remembered by his family and friends who are thankful that they had the opportunity to join him in pursuit of his bliss. Albert Coleman is survived by his wife Betty Coleman of Smyrna; daughters, Jan Chantry of Nashville, TN and Elena Maloney of Marietta; son Lorne Coleman of Atlanta; step-daughter LeeAnn Jones of Atlanta; three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. A memorial service and celebration of Albert Coleman's life will be held December 16, 2007 at 2 p.m. at the Academy of Medicine, 875 West Peachtree St., Atlanta, GA 30309. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Atlanta Federation of Musicians Scholarship Fund, 551 Dutch Valley Rd., NE, Atlanta, GA 30324, c/o Albert Coleman Scholarship.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from Dec. 13 to Dec. 15, 2007
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