Matthew Coley
Somewhere along the way, Matthew Coley has found himself uncovering the secrets to being a kinetic sound artist. With a keen sense for turning movement energy into sound or creative energy, Matthew was not only able to have a professional modern dance career in Chicago bringing him to perform alongside the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, and in an Olympic-sized drained swimming pool, but he has also been successful at entertaining audiences performing on any percussion instrument. As a kinetic sound artist, he has won marimba competitions, published compositions, performed multi-percussion concertos, been featured as a cimbalom and dulcimer artist, and soloed as a glass percussionist.

Matthew performs regularly as a soloist throughout the US and Europe, and has performed as soloist with such entities as the Cedar Valley Chamber Music Festival, San Francisco Sinfonietta, Millennium Chamber Players, Moldavian Philharmonic and Tele-Radio Orchestras, and Kurpfalzisches Kammerorchester Mannheim. He has also been featured three times on Chicago’s WFMT Classical Radio Station and in a feature article in Time Out Chicago Magazine.

Matthew is frequently presenting concerts and master classes at universities, and has visited universities and other institutions in over 15 states, as well as Denmark, Germany, Moldova, and Sweden. Matthew also released a solo marimba album in 2010 entitled “Circularity” that has already received very positive and bountiful praise. Jason Baker wrote, “I found this CD to be one of the most enjoyable marimba recordings in recent memory due to its exciting repertoire, world-class performing, and extremely high production quality”, in Percussive Notes, September 2011.

Matthew is very passionate about the symbiosis of dance and music and has collaborated with Co’Motion Dance Theatre, Thodos Dance Chicago, and Dance in the Parks. In 2004 he began his own collaborative group called SONIC INERTIA, which is a forum for the synthesis of dance, live music, and electronic media. This work has spawned his largest collaboration called CLEARLY, which is a multi-media dance, music, video, and design installation inspired by all glass percussion instruments.

In addition to marimba and percussion, Matthew spends much of his musical time performing on dulcimer and cimbalom. To this effect, much of Matthew’s work has been committed to expanding the contemporary repertoire for the dulcimer and percussion, and he has commissioned and premiered over 25 marimba, percussion, or dulcimer works. Additionally, Matthew has premiered concertos by Bjorn Berkhout, Lynn Glassock, Ghenadie Ciobanu, Marcin Błażewicz, and Andrew Ardizzoia.

In 2008 Matthew placed in the top three at the prestigious 5th World Marimba Competition Stuttgart, and is the first American to ever place in this competition. In 2005 he placed third in the Minnesota Orchestra Young Artist Competition, and in 2000 won first in the Music Teachers National Association Solo Percussion Competition and the Percussive Arts Society International Marimba Concerto Competition. He has received numerous other awards throughout his career, as well as grant awards from the City of Chicago Cultural Arts Assistance Program, Illinois Arts Council, and Iowa Arts Council.

Matthew is currently lecturer of percussion at Iowa State University, and holds degrees from Northwestern University and the University of North Texas. He is endorsed by Marimba One, Innovative Percussion, and Sabian Cymbals, and published by Innovative Percussion and Edition Svitzer. He can be found on the web at