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Heartland Marimba Quartet

Waterloo, IA            

The Heartland Marimba Quartet (HMQ) is North America’s premiere marimba quartet and the primary performing ensemble of Heartland Marimba, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to developing and disseminating the classical marimba art form in both academic and community contexts. Established in 2016 through the vision and leadership of internationally acclaimed marimba soloist Matthew Coley, HMQ seeks to give a platform to the music of American composers in its programming, and continues to expand its repertoire with works from composers worldwide. Quartet members, Christina Cheon, Matthew Coley, Michael J. Jones, and Joe Millea, are each accomplished and award-winning marimba specialists across the United States. Individually, the artists have composed pieces for marimba, produced solo albums, and been featured performers in Japan, China, Canada, Latin America, and throughout Europe. Together, in U.S. venues from parks to performance halls, and museums to modern art galleries, the members of HMQ showcase their strikingly unique backgrounds and performance styles in over 40 events a season. On annual tours, HMQ conducts concerts, collaborations, and educational events at universities and high schools nationwide. The artists also serve as the primary faculty members and mentors for the Heartland Marimba Festival, an in-depth marimba academy for high school and college students as well as aspiring professionals and composers.

In addition to their contribution to every facet of Heartland Marimba, the artists of HMQ are deeply embedded in percussion communities across the country. Students of world-renowned and ground-breaking artists including Keiko Abe, Michael Burritt, Mark Ford, Daniella Ganeva, Brian Zator, and Nancy Zeltsman, the quartet members are passing their knowledge and skills to students and aspiring professionals from age 12 to age 60. It is, in part, this passion for inspiring young musicians to pursue studying this captivating instrument that guides HMQ’s performance setting and style. HMQ is a fierce advocate in music education and community engagement.

In 2018, HMQ had the honor of being the ensemble in residence for the Society of Composers National Conference in Tacoma, Washington. While there, the group premiered a new concerto for marimba quartet and wind ensemble by Paul Alan Price-Brenner with the University of Puget Sound Wind Ensemble. The concerto was co-premiered with the Ankeny High School Wind Ensemble (Ankeny, IA) and the Waterloo West High School Wind Ensemble (Waterloo, IA).

HMQ’s 2018-2019 season further highlighted works written for Heartland Marimba, including Alex Orfaly’s Fôr Marimbas, Steven Simpson’s Fluidity, Matthew Coley’s Rivers of Rage Concerto, and the newest addition, The Principle of Vibration by Brett William Dietz. Performances showcased the established repertoire for marimba quartet, featuring Kevin Romanski’s Fantasy, Gordon Sout’s New York Triptych, and Michael Burritt’s Marimba Quartet. During the 2019-2020 season they will collaborate with the Dubuque Arts Council, Millikin University Percussion, the Minot Symphony Orchestra, and the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. In fall 2019, HMQ will release an album showcasing highlights from their 2017-2018 repertoire. 2020 will see premieres of three concerti by Efrain Amaya, Matthew Coley, and Kevin Romanski, as well as new quartets by Dorothy Hindman and Jeremy Muller (utilizing mobile devices).

HMQ artists are proudly endorsed by Marimba One, Beetle Percussion, Innovative Percussion, Encore Mallets, Black Swamp Percussion, Sabian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads, and ProMark. HMQ is also an ensemble artist with Marimba One and Beetle Percussion.

Rivers of Rage Concerto: ii. Turbulence by Matthew Coley

The Rivers of Rage Concerto is a political commentary piece on the state of politics from 2016-2020.
i. Devil’s Throat
ii. Turbulence
iii. Caustic Erosion

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Marimba Quartet by Michael Burritt

This is a live performance of Burritt’s 2002 quartet.

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Tank Szervusz by Alex Orfaly

HMQ is joined by other percussionists in the Hungarian inspired, xylophone duel.

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