Matthew Coley

Lecturer in Music, Percussion

High-Res Image

More about Matthew Coley

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. He is a quartet member of Clocks in Motion Percussion and the Heartland Marimba Quartet. Matthew has been described as “off the charts” (John Cook, Westminster Presbyterian Fine Arts Series, Des Moines, IA), while “delivering virtuoso…exquisite soloing on marimba” (Lauren Warnecke, See Chicago Dance). About his dulcimer performing, it has been stated: “Coley rips across the strings of the hammered dulcimer with abandon bordering on delirium!” (Linda Shapiro, Chicago Press Review). 

Matthew has performed in over 35 US states, 10 countries, and as a soloist with ensembles/organizations throughout the US and abroad including Clocks in Motion Percussion, Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival, University of Denver Percussion Ensemble, University of Windsor-Edmonton Wind Ensemble, Sudar Percussion of Croatia, San Francisco Sinfonietta, Kurpfalzisches Kammerorchester Mannheim, and the Moldavian Philharmonic and Teleradio Symphony Orchestras. His schedule boasts more than 80 events every season as a soloist, and chamber 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, the HMQuartet tours the nation several times a year, and each summer the HMFestival is hosted at a different university.

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 and