HomeAbout › Matthew Coley

Matthew Coley

Joined in 2016

Matthew Coley is an internationally acclaimed performer and the founding executive/artistic director of Heartland Marimba (HM). Performing on marimba, percussion, hammered dulcimer/cimbalom, and glass, Matthew travels regularly bringing the beauty of the marimba's singing wood and the diverse timbre of other percussion and dulcimers to many audiences. 


Matthew is a proud artist with the Heartland Marimba Quartet and Clocks in Motion Percussion Quartet. He has performed as a soloist and chamber artist in over 35 US states and 10 countries. As a soloist, Matthew has performed and recorded with many ensembles throughout the US and abroad including the Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival, University of Denver Percussion Ensemble, University of Alberta-Edmonton Wind Ensemble, Sudar Percussion of Croatia, San Francisco Sinfonietta, Kurpfalzisches Kammerorchester Mannheim, and Moldavian Philharmonic and Teleradio Symphony Orchestras. His schedule boasts more than 80 events every season as a soloist and ensemble musician. He served as the percussion faculty in the Iowa State University Department of Music and Theatre from 2009-2015 and is now the percussion instructor at Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa. Matthew directs the Festival, SoundWAYS, Ensemble, Quartet, and Publications divisions of HM, which produces over 40 events a season. The HMEnsemble tours the Midwest with several concerts every June, and the HMQuartet tours the nation multiple times a season with concerts, master classes, concerto performances, educational presentations, and outreach events. 


Matthew regularly collaborates with composers looking for unique ways to push the percussion repertoire. Works that he has commissioned and premiered include: Lurgy for Carillon and Percussion Ensemble by Neil Thornock (premiered at Iowa State University, 2013); Rural Sketches for Marimba and Contrabass Ensemble by Igor Iachimciuc (premiered at Chicago Cultural Center, 2014); Glass House Concerto for Solo Percussion (glass, metal, wood, and stone) and Wind Ensemble by Andrew Ardizzoia (premiered at University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, 2013); Images of Africa for Dulcimer and Percussion Sextet by Steven Simpson (premiered at University of Iowa, 2014); and he premiered an arrangement of Haydn’s Concerto in C for cimbalom, vibraphone, and marimba in 2013 with the Central Iowa Symphony.


Released in 2012, Matthew’s second album Souvenirs establishes him as one of the most innovative and exciting artists of his kind. Adam Blackstock (Troy University) wrote of it in the July 2012 Percussive Notes, “If you are in search of a disc with great recording quality, a high level of performance, and an eclectic collection of tracks, this title should be added to your iTunes wish list. Souvenirs delivers 80 minutes of diverse works…” Other critically acclaimed solo albums include, Circularity (“most enjoyable…world-class performing,” [2010, Jason Baker, Percussive Notes]) and Between the Lines (“performed luminously, with intense vigor” [2015, Brett Dietz, Percussive Notes]).


Matthew has won several prizes from national and international competitions and holds percussion performance degrees from Northwestern University (DM and MM) and the University of North Texas (BM). Matthew is an endorsed artist by Marimba One, Black Swamp Percussion, ProMark Drumsticks and Evans Drumheads, Beetle Percussion, and Sabian Cymbals, and is published by Innovative Percussion, Edition Svitzer, and Heartland Marimba Publications. His signature keyboard percussion practice pad system is available through Beetle Percussion. Visit www.hearMatthewColey.com and www.HeartlandMarimba.com.

Top of page