Principal Vibration Tour Program • 

November 5 – 16, 2018 

Fluidity [2014] by Steven Simpson*

New York Triptych [2012] by Gordon Stout

Fôr Marimbas [2016] by Alex Orfaly*^

ii. Interlude

iii. Rondo Perpetuus

 The Principle of Vibration [2018] by Brett William Dietz*^

           i. – ii. – interlude no. 1 – iii. – interlude no. 2 – iv. – v.

[Premiered on this tour.]


Intermission (15 minutes)


Marimba Quartet [2002] by Michael Burritt

 Fantasy [1994] by Kevin Romanski

 Rivers of Rage [2017] by Matthew Coley*^  

Célèbre Tarantelle [c. 1858/arr. 2017] by Louis Moreau Gottschalk/arr.

Matthew Coley^


* denotes pieces written for the HMQuartet 

^ denotes pieces published by HMPublications

Group Biography:

Heartland Marimba is an organization devoted to promoting the art of classical marimba, educating and training its student players, showcasing new works written for the instrument, and introducing this all to communities far and wide. It held its inaugural season in Iowa during the summer of 2014.

The Heartland Marimba Quartet (HMQ) is one of the performing ensembles of Heartland Marimba organization. Established in 2016 by acclaimed marimba soloist Matthew Coley, the group seeks to give a platform to the music of American composers, and continues to expand its repertoire with works from composers worldwide. Comprised of four distinctively creative artists, HMQ exemplifies Heartland Marimba’s mission to develop and disseminate the classical marimba art form in both academic and community contexts. HMQ recently 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. HMQ’s 2018-2019 program will highlight several works written for Heartland Marimba, including Alex Orfaly’s Fôr Marimbas, Steven Simpson’s Fluidity, Matthew Coley’s Rivers of Rage, and feature the premiere of a new piece and namesake of the tour, The Principle of Vibration by Brett William Dietz. 

HMQ is excited to present a tour during the 2018-2019 season in the Midwest. Visit the sites below to learn more about HM and HMQ.

Member websites:

Matthew Coley (Waterloo, IA) –

Michael J. Jones (Austin, TX) –

Joe Millea (Phoenix, AZ) –

Andrew Veit (Wheaton, IL) –

HM websites/social media:


Ø  Find us on YouTube

Ø  on facebook

Ø  on twitter @HeartlndMarimba

Ø  on instagram  @Heartlandmarimba

Ø  on SoundCloud

Composer Biographies – Program Notes

Fluidity (2014) – Steven Simpson (b. 1967)

This piece was written for HMF in 2014. Fluidity layers various syncopated and non-syncopated patterns together to produce an undulating effect that creates an interesting and meditative atmosphere. “When you accurately perceive the fluidity of things, you can also begin to perceive the constancy behind them: the creative, transformative, boundless, immutable Tao.” —Lao Tzu

About the composer: Steven Simpson is a musical storyteller, crafting an emotional journey for the listener. His compositions range from large orchestral works to small chamber works. Simpson's music has been performed by various groups and individuals throughout the United States. Among them, the Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, the Carolina Pops Orchestra, the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, and the world-renowned new music ensemble, Relaché. In 2012 Simpson collaborated with Matthew Coley and Sonic Inertia who performed Radioactive Octopus for Marimba Quartet on a three state tour. At the end of 2012, Coley recorded Simpson’s Flow for Marimba and Cello with Julie Sturm for a future CD release. At the same time Flow was used in the creation of a performance video in a collaboration between Coley, the Co'Motion Dance Theatre and Director Valerie Williams, and Chad Jacobsen.

New York Triptych (2011) – Gordon Stout (b. 1952)

This piece was commissioned and composed for the Percussive Arts Society and its 50th anniversary celebration in 2011. The original composition for marimba orchestra was premiered in Indianapolis, by 50 great marimbists and friends of Gordon Stout. The quartet version requires four 5.0 octave marimbas. Instead of having marimba 1 and 2 each divided into three parts at times, in the Quartet version marimba 1 and 2 play all of the notes in those sections. There is no difference in the marimba 3 and 4 parts.

Gordon Stout (born 1952) is an American percussionist, composer, and educator specializing in the marimba. He studied composition with Joseph Schwantner, Samuel Adler, and Warren Benson, and percussion with James Salmon and John Beck. Many of his compositions for marimba (i.e., Two Mexican Dances for Marimba) have become standard repertoire for marimba players worldwide. As a marimba player, he has presented solo performances throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in Europe, Japan, Taiwan, and Mexico. In the summer of 1998 he was a featured marimba performer at the World Marimba Festival in Osaka, Japan. Stout serves as professor of percussion at the School of Music of Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.

Fôr Marimbas (2016) – Alex Orfaly (b. 1974)

Alex Orfaly, a freelance percussionist and composer in the Boston area. He has performed with orchestras worldwide, including the the Cleveland Orchestra, the L.A. Philharmonic, Palau de Les Arts in Spain, and currently serves as timpanist for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony in Idaho. He has a growing body of percussion pieces to his credit, including his Concerto for Brass and Percussion, premiered in 2004 by the New World Symphony. His first Divertissement, written in 2001 for solo timpani and percussion ensemble won Second Prize in the Percussive Arts Society composition competition, his Rhapsody No. 2 for solo timpani won First Prize in 2006 and his Improvvisatto Contrasto for timpani solo won first prize in 2010. His highly entertaining Mean Man’s March, based on the human and canine social complexities of the dog park, was premiered in 2011 by the Sun Valley Summer Symphony, which will also premiere his latest work, Cowboy Bill for orchestra with narrator in August 2012.

The Principle of Vibration (2018) – Brett William Dietz  (b. 1972)

Brett William Dietz is Associate Professor of Percussion at the Louisiana State University School of Music. He is the music director of Hamiruge (the LSU Percussion Group). He earned the Bachelor of Music in Percussion and the Master of Music in Composition/Theory from the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University. In 2004, Dietz earned his Doctorate of Music from Northwestern University. He has studied percussion with Jack DiIanni, Andrew Reamer, Stanley Leonard, and Michael Burritt while his principal composition teachers include Joseph W. Jenkins, David Stock, and Jay Alan Yim.

An avid composer, Dietz's music has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, East Asia and Australia by numerous ensembles including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Portland Symphony Orchestra, Winston Salem Orchestra, Dallas Wind Symphony, Eastman Wind Ensemble, National Wind Ensemble, New Music Raleigh, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, River City Brass Band, Northwestern University Wind Symphony, Louisiana State University Wind Ensemble, Duquesne University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the University of Scranton Wind Symphony, the Northwestern University Percussion Ensemble, Ju Percussion Ensemble, Malmo Percussion Group, and the University of Kentucky Percussion Ensemble. His compositions have been featured at the 1998 College Band Directors National Association Eastern Division Conference, and

the 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2007 Percussive Arts Society International Convention. Dietz's composition, Pandora's Box received its New York Premiere at Carnegie Hall by the National Wind Ensemble conducted by H. Robert Reynolds. His opera Headcase was premiered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Called "haunting and powerful – a remarkably sophisticated score that blends words, music and visual displays to touch the heart and mind” by the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, the opera relives the story of the stroke Dietz suffered in 2002.

Marimba Quartet (2002) – Michael Burritt (b. 1962)

Dedicated to Anders Åstrand, this work was much talked about after its premiere by the Northwestern University Percussion Ensemble at PASIC 2002. HMQ member Matthew Coley was a performer on the premiere. There are three distinct sections with a recap of the first, and requires the use of “slap mallets” for two of the performers. This work is an unsung hero of the marimba quartet literature and has not acquired its well-deserved circulation through the percussion community, as it was unavailable for so long.

About the composer: Michael Burritt is currently Professor of Percussion and head of the department at The Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Having performed on four continents and nearly forty states Michael Burritt is one of the World's leading percussion soloists. Mr. Burritt is also active as a composer, with two concertos to his credit, numerous solo and chamber works for marimba and percussion as well as two books of etudes. His works for solo marimba have become standard repertoire for the instrument and are frequently required repertoire on international competitions. Mr. Burritt is a member of the Percussive Arts Society Board of Directors, a contributing editor for Percussive Notes Magazine and the chairman of the PAS Keyboard Committee.

Fantasy (1994) – Kevin Romanski (b. 1975)

Fantasy is a character piece for marimba quartet that begins with a strongly articulated meter and a clear sense of tonality. As the work progresses, the meter becomes obscured, and an ever-increasing sense of tonal ambiguity settles in. The elements of clarity and obscurity are gradually superimposed upon one another until the recapitulation. The piece ends with a procedure in which the essence of the final measure of Scriabin’s Seventh Sonata is overlaid on the final measure of his Eighth Sonata, implying a superimposed process.

About the composer: Kevin Romanski currently serves as Assistant Professor of Percussion at Shu-Te University, where he also acts as Director of Musical Studies for the Department of Performing Arts. Additional current positions include Assistant Professor of Percussion at National Kaohsiung Normal University and Shih Chien University. Dr. Romanski has given numerous solo recitals and clinics in the United States and Taiwan. In 2006, he had the honor of presenting a recital of Alexander Scriabin’s music for the Russian ambassador in Washington, D.C. Devoted to the study and performance of new music, a number of solo marimba and chamber works have been written expressly for him, and he has been involved in the commissioning and premiering of new works for percussion quartet. He currently resides in Kaohsiung, Taiwan with his wife and two children.

Rivers of Rage (2017) – Matthew Coley (b. 1979)

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. He is a quartet member of Clocks in Motion Percussion and the Heartland Marimba Quartet. Matthew has won several prizes from national and international competitions and holds percussion performance degrees from Northwestern University (DM and MM) and the University of North Texas (BM). Matthew is an endorsed artist by Marimba One, Black Swamp Percussion, ProMark Drumsticks and Evans Drumheads, Beetle Percussion, and Sabian Cymbals, and is published by Innovative Percussion, Edition Svitzer, and Heartland Marimba Publications. His signature keyboard percussion practice pad system is available through Beetle Percussion.

Célèbre Tarantelle (1858-1864) – Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869)/arr. Matthew Coley

Célèbre (Grande) Tarantelle, Op. 67, is a tarantella written by American composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk from 1858-64. Subtitled Célèbre Tarentelle (Famous Tarantella), it was first performed at the Academy of music in Philadelphia in 1864. The composer transcribed the piece for many different combinations, including solo piano, piano trio, violin and piano, and two violins and piano. In addition, others have arranged the piece for many additional combinations, including a transcription by the composer's friend Nicolás Ruiz Espadero for two pianos. Perhaps the most well known version is the reconstruction of the piece for piano and orchestra by Hershy Kay, which was later used for a ballet by George Balanchine. More recently, Gottschalk's original orchestration has been found and recorded.

About the composer: Louis Moreau Gottschalk was born in New Orleans to a Jewish businessman from London and a Creole mother. He was exposed to a variety of musical traditions, and played the piano from an early age. He was soon recognized as a prodigy by the New Orleans bourgeois establishment, making his informal public debut in 1840 at the new St. Charles Hotel. At the age of 13, Gottschalk left the United States and sailed to Europe, as he and his father realized a classical training was required to fulfill his musical ambitions. The Paris Conservatoire, however, rejected his application without hearing him, on the grounds of his nationality; Pierre Zimmermann, head of the piano faculty, commented, "America is a country of steam engines.” Gottschalk eventually gained access to the musical establishment through family friends. After Gottschalk returned to the United States in 1853, he traveled extensively; a sojourn in Cuba during 1854 was the beginning of a series of trips to Central and South America. At the conclusion of that tour, he rested in New Jersey then returned to New York City. By the 1860s, Gottschalk had established himself as the best-known pianist in the New World. In May 1865, he was mentioned in a San Francisco newspaper as having "travelled 95,000 miles by rail and given 1,000 concerts.” However, he was forced to leave the United States later that year because of a scandalous affair with a student at the Oakland Female Seminary in Oakland, California. He never returned to the United States. Gottschalk chose to travel to South America, where he continued to give frequent concerts. During one of these concerts, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on November 24, 1869, he collapsed from having contracted yellow fever. Just before his collapse, he had finished playing his romantic piece Morte! (translated from Brazilian Portuguese as "Death"). Three weeks later, on December 18, 1869, at the age of 40, he passed away at his hotel in Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro.