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Heartland Marimba Quartet Commissions Eight New Works by Female Composers

There are only 12 marimba quartets in existence by women composers. We are changing that this coming season by commissioning 8 new works.


The Heartland Marimba Quartet (HMQ) is aware of the shockingly low number of works available for marimba quartet (and percussion ensemble) by female composers. They have begun to gather all the repertoire that was composed by women for this kind of ensemble. Only 12 marimba quartets can be found, and many of those are not easily accessible. HMQ has performed five of these works, plans to perform others, and has republished the oldest one, Atmospheres (1989) by Beth Mehocic. Two works of note that HMQ has championed include, Sabrina Pena Young’s Agape, and Eleanor Brimblecombe’s Phycodurus Eques. Agape was discovered through a grant Heartland Marimba ([HM] the 501(c)(3) organization of HMQ) received from the New York Women Composers, Inc. in 2017 to perform five works by their roster composers. Brimblecombe’s piece was living as a MIDI mock-up on YouTube.

For 2020, HMQ will commission four accomplished and renown female composers to write for the ensemble (Jenni Brandon, Kirsten Broberg, Dorothy Hindman, and Tawnie Olson). Some of these works will be intended for dance collaboration with the Chicago modern dance company, The Seldoms (Carrie Hanson, choreographer), and Zenon Dance (Minneapolis, MN). Additionally, some of these works will involve electronic media. A call-for-applicants will also be held in 2020 to commission four early-career, young female composers to write pieces intended for upper level high school/undergraduate level marimba quartets.

HMQ tours with more than 40 events a season. Premieres of the above new works will occur during the 2020-2021 season, particularly during tours scheduled for November 1-15, 2020 and March 23-April 4, 2021. Tour events include concerts at Kent State University and the Bop Stop in Cleveland (OH); performances in Indianapolis (IN) and Kutztown (PA); and residencies at Mt. Lebanon High School in Pittsburgh (PA), and with the Spitting Image Collective in Minneapolis (MN). Following the past practice of HMQ, other concerts with a variety of presenters will be booked during tours (i.e. concert halls, universities, high schools, museums, libraries, and/or churches), and a couple of concerts within the season will be produced by HM. All works will be published by the Heartland Marimba organization and made easily available to the percussion community worldwide.

Project Media

Mvt. I from The Principle of Vibration
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Mvt. I from The Principle of Vibration by Brett William Dietz (A seven movement work written for HMQ.)

New York Triptych
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New York Triptych by Gordon Stout (Recorded on HMQ’s Vision CD.)

Mvt. I. Allegro con vivo from Fôr Marimbas by Alex Orfaly
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Mvt. I. Allegro con vivo from Fôr Marimbas by Alex Orfaly (A three movement work written for HMQ, and recorded on HMQ’s Vision CD.)

Start and End Dates



Minneapolis, Minnesota

Project Created By

Waterloo, Iowa
Matthew Coley is an internationally acclaimed performer and the founding executive/artistic director of Heartland Marimba (HM). 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. Matthew has performed in over 35 US states,…

In Collaboration With

performers, commissioning organization
Waterloo, Iowa
Long Beach, California
Miami, Florida
New Haven, Connecticut
Denton, Texas


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