Since our founding in 2014 we have been working to advance the marimba art form, and reach as many audiences, students, performers, and composers as possible.
The mission of Heartland Marimba is to reach many audiences in order to support and advance the classical marimba art form, its music, and its composers and performers. This is accomplished through four components: community outreach, educational experiences, generating new repertoire, and opportunities for professionals.
Heartland Marimba has been committed to creating a viable market for the classical marimba art form since 2014. Embedded in this platform is a deep passion to bring marimba performance to communities of all sizes, especially small towns, and under-served communities. As a nod to the early history of the classical marimba (the 1920s-1950s), HM considers their work for the future of the instrument strongly connected to the great Claire Omar Musser. As the grandfather of classical marimba, a soloist, composer, and conductor, Musser organized many events, from solo to large-scale marimba orchestras, throughout cities in America. We are passionate about continuing this course and acknowledge the importance that the general population needs to experience the beauty of this instrument. With roots in Africa and Central American, the modern marimba got its start as a participant in the classical music world in North America. From the name of Heartland Marimba to its central tenets, we draw on the tradition and history of the instrument to drive our mission. It propels our dedication to see a bright future for the instrument and success for our marimba artists for many decades.
The marimba has a special place in the percussion world. It is comfortably at home in the university music programs as the “grand soloist” instrument of classical percussion. Composers are producing more and more for this instrument and we’ve seen performance practice advance exponentially in the last 40 years. However, when many percussionists graduate with multiple music degrees, leaving their institutions as prescribed marimba soloists, they find a rude awakening. There have not been tangible means of practicing their art and surviving in the real world as a marimba player. HM is working to change that for marimba artists, and in turn, benefit many communities!
HM has produced more than 200 concerts in more than 50 cities since 2014. Thousands of children have experienced educational presentations by HM groups, more than 20 composers have written for HM groups, and at least 30 young artists have been employed by the HMEnsemble. There have been five HMFestivals at four different universities, the HMQuartet has done eight tours, and the HMEnsemble has done seven. We are focused on the future of the marimba art form. We hope you will join us along the way with your support!
Heartland Marimba is an organization that celebrates and elevates the accessibility of the classical marimba art form. Its design is to be broad in order to not only support the livelihood of its core artists (HMQ) and the administration, but also to provide a multitude of opportunities to many other artists and composers in various stages of their careers, as well as students and communities of all sizes. HM began with the Festival component in 2014, and added the other branches over the next six years. This model is not a common model in the performing arts world, but it will ensure that the organization will continue to develop and diversify the programming it offers and the people it influences.Within 10 years of forming the organization we hope to have full-time positions for the core artists, which would involve a variety of work including performing, administration, and teaching. We are regularly working towards better diversity throughout the organization, and development towards a sustainable and sizable education program.Education has always been imbedded in the mission. Every tour involved a variety of master classes and presentations at schools. We have also engaged more than 30 young artists in first time touring work through our Artist Roster. We will be adding regular elementary school and community center residencies for children in the coming seasons and planning summer workshops for middle and high school percussionists.