Heartland Marimba

Celebrating classical marimba year-round with communities, artists, and students!

Program for Concert #1 – Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Heartland Marimba Festival Academy – University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point – MICHELSEN HALL, NOEL FINE ARTS CENTER

• The artists •

Matthew Coley is an internationally acclaimed solo performer, the artistic director of the Heartland Marimba Festival, and a member of Clocks in Motion and the Heartland Marimba Quartet. He 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, seechicagodance.com). 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. About his dulcimer performing it has been written that “Coley rips across the strings of the hammered dulcimer with abandon bordering on delirium!” (Linda Shapiro, Chicago Press Review). Matthew has performed in over 30 US states, 10 countries (Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Slovenia, Sweden, and Switzerland), and as a soloist with ensembles throughout the US and abroad including Clocks in Motion Percussion, Northern Iowa Symphony, Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival, Sudar Percussion of Croatia, San Francisco Sinfonietta, Kurpfalzisches Kammerorchester Mannheim, and Moldavian Philharmonic and Teleradio Symphony Orchestras.

Matthew served as the Percussion Faculty in the Iowa State University Department of Music and Theatre from 2009-2015. He now splits his time between solo and chamber performing and directing the Academy, SoundW.A.Y.S., Collective, Quartet, and Publications divisions of the Heartland Marimba Festival. Matthew is passionate about continuing to build on HMF’s mission and the future of the organization, as well as bringing the marimba, dulcimer, and their composers into the spotlight through unique projects and performances for diverse audiences.

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” [Brett Dietz, Percussive Notes]), which is a collaborative disc of all of Neil Thornock’s percussion music, released in early 2015 on New Focus Recordings.

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 Festival Publications. His signature mallet percussion practice pad system is available through Beetle Percussion. More information can be found at www.hearMatthewColey.com and www.HeartlandMarimbaFestival.com.


Jaime Esposito is a percussion performer and educator based out of Dallas, Texas. She recently graduated from the University of North Texas with a Master’s Degree in Percussion Performance, and also maintained responsibilities as a Teaching Fellow.


Scott Eiklenborg is a Percussion Performance major at Wartburg College. Scott's goal is to be a professional percussionist/drummer across many genres, and whether a rock band or a symphony orchestra, he just wants to do what he loves — play percussion.


Abby Fisher, a New York based percussionist, is interested in performing and supporting continued growth of new music, and has expertise in contemporary, classical, and African (Ewe) percussion. Recent notable performances include: performing Timber (Michael Gordon) and Single Stroke Roll Meditation (Pauline Oliveros) with nief-norf at the 2017 Big Ears Festival (Knoxville, TN), presenting Lawton Hall’s work All Your Thens for Now for vibraphone and speaking voice at a 2015 TEDx, performing at the 2016 New Music Gathering at the Peabody Institute (Baltimore, Maryland), performing and teaching at the January 2016 Festival Internacional de Músicas y Artes Sonoras Contemporáneas (Cuenca, Ecuador), and performing as a performance fellow at the 2016 Bang on a Can Summer Festival.  She is the Director of Operations for the nief-norf Contemporary Chamber Music Organization and Summer Music Festival (Knoxville, TN). Abby is an artist for the Heartland Marimba Quartet, and will be a faculty member for the 2017 Heartland Marimba Festival Academy (Stevens Point, WI).


Joe Millea is a member of the Heartland Marimba Quartet. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, where he works as the Artist Coordinator at the Musical Instrument Museum. He is also a freelance percussionist and music educator in the Phoenix metro area.


Michael J. Jones is a percussionist, music educator, and Heartland Marimba Quartet member based in Dallas, TX. Recent performances include Keiko Abe’s Reflections on Japanese Children’s Songs III at the 2016 Percussive Arts Society International Convention, a recording and performance of David Dzubay’s Producing for a While with contemporary music ensemble “Voices of Change,” and regular concerts as a mallet percussionist with the Dallas Wind Symphony. Michael received his Bachelor of Music degree from Southern Methodist University, his Master of Music degree from Texas A&M University-Commerce, and Graduate Performance Diploma in Marimba Performance at The Boston Conservatory. His primary teachers include Keiko Abe, Keith Aleo, Doug Howard, Drew Lang, Akie Takada, Brian Zator, and Nancy Zeltsman. 


Bridget Olenik is a percussionist, conductor, and educator based in Ohio. She is currently the Director of Music for Urbana University and a few of her other engagements include principal timpanist for the Urbana Pops Orchestra (IL), adjudicator for the Ohio Music Educators Association, and multiple playing and administrative capacities with the Heartland Marimba Festival since it began in 2014. Bridget holds degrees from Iowa State University and Indiana University, and endorses Vater sticks and Sabian cymbals. 

• The music •

Chromatic Grand Galop (1838) – Franz Liszt (1811-1886)/arr. Matthew Coley (b.1979)

The Grand galop chromatique figures prominently in Liszt’s own piano recital programs, and its enormous popularity probably accounts for the quick publication of the simplified version and the version for piano duet. But Liszt returned to the concert version on several occasions over the years, adding ossia passages and extending the overall structure. The present version represents his fullest extension of the original. The obvious lightness of the work’s character made this piece an instant crowd-pleaser, but the imaginative undercurrent throws in a marvelous sequence of whole-tones and some wickedly unresolved chromatics at the coda.


Michelangelo 70 (1986) – Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992)

Michelangelo 70, which references the name of a Buenos Aires cafe where the composer’s quintet performed in the 70s, is an intriguing piece that is centered on a repeated three-note theme, composed as a sort of musical exercise.


Fantasy on St. Patrick's Day (1860) – Henri Vieuxtemps (1820-1881)/arr. Clair Omar Musser (1901-1998)/adapted by R. K. LeVan

Henri François Joseph Vieuxtemps was a Belgian composer and violinist. He occupies an important place in the history of the violin as a prominent exponent of the Franco-Belgian violin school during the mid-19th century.


Whirlwind (1939) – Joe Green (1892-1939)/arr. William Schinstine

A classic rag.



Por una Cabeza (1935) – Carlos Gardel (1890-1935)/arr. Matthew Coley


Ragtime (1918) – Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)/arr. Matthew Coley

Performed by Matthew Coley, solo marimba.

Assisted by Joe Millea, percussion.


Fluidity (2014) – Steven Simpson (b. 1967)

This piece was written for HMF in 2014. Fluidity layers various syncopated and non-syncopated patterns together to produce an undulating effect that creates an interesting and meditative atmosphere. “When you accurately perceive the fluidity of things, you can also begin to perceive the constancy behind them: the creative, transformative, boundless, immutable Tao.” —Lao Tzu

About the composer: Steven Simpson is a musical storyteller, crafting an emotional journey for the listener. His compositions range from large orchestral works to small chamber works. Simpson's music has been performed by various groups and individuals throughout the United States. Among them, the Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, the Carolina Pops Orchestra, the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and the world-renowned new music ensemble, Relaché. In 2012 Simpson collaborated with Matthew Coley and Sonic Inertia who performed Radioactive Octopus for Marimba Quartet on a three state tour. At the end of 2012, Coley recorded Simpson’s Flow for Marimba and Cello with Julie Sturm for a future CD release. At the same time Flow was used in the creation of a performance video in a collaboration between Coley, the Co'Motion Dance Theatre and Director Valerie Williams, and Chad Jacobsen.


Fantasy (2014) – Kevin Romanski (b. 1975)

Fantasy is a character piece for marimba quartet that begins with a strongly articulated meter and a clear sense of tonality. As the work progresses, the meter becomes obscured, and an ever-increasing sense of tonal ambiguity settles in. The elements of clarity and obscurity are gradually superimposed upon one another until the recapitulation. The piece ends with a procedure in which the essence of the final measure of Scriabin’s Seventh Sonata is overlaid on the final measure of his Eighth Sonata, implying a superimposed process.

About the composer: Kevin Romanski currently serves as Assistant Professor of Percussion at Shu-Te University, where he also acts as Director of Musical Studies for the Department of Performing Arts. Additional current positions include Assistant Professor of Percussion at National Kaohsiung Normal University and Shih Chien University. Dr. Romanski has given numerous solo recitals and clinics in the United States and Taiwan. In 2006, he had the honor of presenting a recital of Alexander Scriabin’s music for the Russian ambassador in Washington, D.C. Devoted to the study and performance of new music, a number of solo marimba and chamber works have been written expressly for him, and he has been involved in the commissioning and premiering of new works for percussion quartet. He currently resides in Kaohsiung, Taiwan with his wife and two children.


Momentia/Minutia (2005) – Scott Blasco (b. 1978)

This piece was commissioned by photographers Todd and Brad Reed for a slideshow of images for their recent book, Lake Michigan Point to Point. The book is a collection of stunning images of the lake and its surrounding areas, and Momentia/Minutia represents some of Blasco’s impressions from the more abstract images: the continuous, undulating texture, the building and crashing of tensions, and the nebulous, constantly transforming melodies and rhythms all reflect some aspect of water and light in motion.  This rhythmic piece, scored for marimba quartet, received its world premiere by the Western Michigan University Percussion Ensemble in November of 2005.

About the composer: Scott Blasco is a composer and performer with a passion for collaboration and interactivity. In his work he seeks a juxtaposition of simplicity and complexity, exploring systems that allow for very long time-scales with minimal repetition, with an emphasis on surface consistency. Scott teaches composition, music theory, and electronic music at Washington State University, and is a founding member of the Kansas City-area electroacoustic new music ensemble The Digital Honkbox Revival.


Marimba Quartet (2002) – Michael Burritt (b. 1962)

Dedicated to Anders Åstrand, this work was much talked about after its premiere by the Northwestern University Percussion Ensemble at PASIC 2002. HMQ member Matthew Coley was a performer on the premiere. There are three distinct sections with a recap of the first, and requires the use of “slap mallets” for two of the performers. This work is an unsung hero of the marimba quartet literature and has not acquired its well-deserved circulation through the percussion community, as it was unavailable for so long.

About the composer: Michael Burritt is currently Professor of Percussion and head of the department at The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Having performed on four continents and nearly forty states Michael Burritt is one of the World's leading percussion soloists. Mr. Burritt is also active as a composer, with two concertos to his credit, numerous solo and chamber works for marimba and percussion as well as two books of etudes. His works for solo marimba have become standard repertoire for the instrument and are frequently required repertoire on international competitions. Mr. Burritt is a member of the Percussive Arts Society Board of Directors, a contributing editor for Percussive Notes Magazine and the chairman of the PAS Keyboard Committee.

 Performed by the Heartland Marimba Quartet (MATTHEW COLEY, ABBY FISHER, & MICHAEL J. JONES, JOE MILLEA).