Heartland Marimba began in 2014 as a six-day summer festival of five events and a workshop at Iowa State University in Ames, IA. To date Heartland Marimba has performed more than 200 concerts, published over 80 works for marimba & percussion, and commissioned 30+ pieces.

10 years of Heartland Marimba

2014 - 2015
2016 - 2019
2020 - Present
(Scroll right to view history)


In 2014 HM started as a six-day summer festival of five events and a workshop at Iowa State University in Ames, IA. It was hugely successful and an inspiration for the vision to continue.


In 2015 Dr. Coley began the Merry Mallets Community Ensemble, the workshop became a seven-day Festival (at ISU) with five concerts, and the HMEnsemble was formed and performed seven events in six cities.

May 2016

In 2016 the Publications division was added to continue the HM mission by supporting composers that write for marimba. The HMEnsemble performed in seven cities with eight concerts in June and the HMFestival moved out to Southern Utah University in Cedar City, UT for nine days with five concerts and many classes and recording sessions. Matthew then performed a solo winter holiday tour of nine events in seven cities in Iowa.

Fall 2016

The first full length album 'Heartland Marimba Dances' is released.

The Heartland Marimba Quartet (HMQ) was established. Comprised of four distinctively creative forces, HMQ exemplifies Heartland Marimba’s mission to develop and disseminate the classical marimba art form in both academic and community


In 2017 the Heartland Marimba Festival took place at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with Guest artists, Gordon Stout and Brian Baldauff.

Spring 2018

Ensemble in residence at the Society of
Composers National Conference
at the University of Puget Sound hosted by Gerard Morris.

HMQ is a clinician at the 91st Iowa Bandmasters Association Conference in Des Moines Iowa

June 2018

The 2018 HMF was at Virginia Tech University, hosted by Annie Stevens. Guest artist included Nathan Daughtrey, Abbey Fischer, & Escape Ten Duo joined HMQ for a week of lessons, classes, recordings & concerts.

Oct 2018

HMQ tours the midwest, is guest artist at the UW-La Crosse Festival of New Music and premieres 'The Principle of Vibration' by Brett Dietz.

June 2019

The fifth Heartland Marimba Ensemble (HME) summer tour takes place in the midwest including a residency at the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville Percussion Institute

Oct 2019

HMQ is Ensemble in Residence with the Dubuque Arts Council performing over 30 educational concerts in two weeks for area students.

First full length album 'VISION' is released. including works by Alex Orfaly, Caleb Pickering, Kevin Romanski, Andrew, Veit, Scott Blasco, Gordon Stout, and Steven Simpson.

Feb 2020

HMQ is artists in residence at Milikin University in Decatur, IL premiering the Rivers of Rage Concerto by Matthew Coley for Marimba Quartet and Percussion Ensemble with the Millikin University Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Jeremy Brunk.

Summer 2020

Heartland Marimba receives a grant from New Music USA to commission several works for marimba quartet by female composers. Commissioning Dolores White, Dorothy Hindman, Nyokabi Kariuki, Tawnie Olsen, Nirmala Rajasekar & Kristian Broberg.

Fall 2020

The first Online Composition Festival takes place with composer Jenni Brandon. A unique online 3-week festival. Through a comprehensive plan, and an approachable and collaborative setting with other
composers, each participant learns about composing for marimba.

Spring 2021

The Heartland Marimba Quartet performs with the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, including works by Gottschalk, Joplin, and Mendelssohn.

Fall 2021

HMQ performs as principle players for the International Marimba Orchestra at the Center for Mallet Percussion Research in Kutztown, PA

Spring 2022

Heartland Marimba performs with the Minot Symphony Orchestra premiering Erain Amaya's 'Marahuaka' for three marimbas and Orchestra

June 2022

HME premieres 9 works that have been composed for Heartland Marimba’s Composer LabFest, and tours the midwest.

Sept 2022

HMQ performs as guest artists at the 7th World Marimba Competition in Stuttgart, Germany.

Nov 2022

HMQ & HME combine to perform a showcase concert at the 2022 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis, IN.