Matthew Coley

Matthew Coley


Marimba, Percussion, Dulcimer Artist, Founding Artistic Director, SONIC INERTIA

Internationally acclaimed marimba virtuoso Matthew Coley has distinguished himself as one of the country’s most versatile percussion artists. Performing on marimba, percussion, hammered dulcimer, and glass, he travels regularly to present concerts and master classes throughout the nation and abroad. Additionally, he is the Percussion Faculty in the Iowa State University Department of Music and Theatre, directs the Heartland Marimba Festival, and runs Sonic Inertia Publications.

In the spring of 2014 he performed in Nebraska, North Dakota, Edmonton and Regina (Canada), Wyoming, Salt Lake City, Iowa City, Chicago, and San Diego. During the fall of 2014, he will be seen doing performances as a soloist with the ISU Wind and Percussion Ensembles and the Central Iowa Symphony, as well as the Madison, WI ensemble, Clocks in Motion. Also, he will be performing and teaching at the Ivana Bilić Marimba Week in Samobar, Croatia, the Slovenia Conservatorium in Ljubljana, Kecskemét Kodály Institute and the University of Debrecen in Hungary, and the University of Central Florida (Orlando).

Matthew regularly collaborates with composers looking for unique ways to push the percussion repertoire. Recent 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 most recently he has created a version of Haydn’s C Major Concerto for cimbalom, vibraphone, and marimba. In addition, he has commissioned and/or premiered many solos for marimba and dulcimer.

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…” Recently scheduled for release on New Focus Records at the beginning of 2015 is Matthew’s solo and collaborative CD,Between the Lines, of all of Neil Thornock’s percussion music.

Matthew has performed as a soloist at five Percussive Arts Society International Conventions, at universities, institutions, and concert halls across the nation in over 30 different US states, in Canada, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Denmark, Germany, Moldova, and Sweden, and as soloist and clinician at several state Days of Percussion. He holds percussion performance degrees from Northwestern University (DM and MM) and the University of North Texas (BM), and has studied with Michael Burritt, Christopher Deane, Mark Ford, James Ross, Leigh Howard Stevens, and She-e Wu. Matthew is an endorsed artist by Marimba One, Black Swamp Percussion, ProMark, Evans Drumheads, BDL Percussion, and Sabian Cymbals, and is published by Innovative Percussion and Edition Svitzer. More information can be found at