Matt Hannafin
writer / editor / percussionist

Ba-dum ching.

My musical world is split: experimental music and free improvisation on the one side, Persian classical and traditional music on the other. I studied Persian tombak with master Kavous Shirzadian; frame drums with Jamey Haddad, Glen Velez, and Layne Redmond; African and Afro-Caribbean percussion with John Amira and Magette Fall; and voice with La Monte Young and Pandit Pran Nath. For experimental and improvised music, my approach blends the techniques and timbres of eastern and western percussion with sonorities and ideas borrowed from nature and electronic music.

Ongoing projects include the Lee + Hannafin Duo with oboist Catherine Lee and trio performances with sound artist Loren Chasse and composer/performer Branic Howard. Other recent projects have included solo performances focused on realizations of text and graphic scores by John Cage, Vanessa Tomlinson, Cat Hope, Hanna Hartman, and others; realizations of Yoko Ono's Water Pieces in duo with dancer Kat Macmillan; performances as a member of the Golden Retriever Chamber Ensemble; and performances of works by Christian Wolff, Pauline Oliveros, and Jurg Frey based around natural stone percussion. Since January 2016 I've served as founder, curator, and director of Extradition, a quarterly concert series focused on purity, space, sound, and silence in 20th- and 21st-century experimental music.

Other current and past collaborators have included trumpeter Nate Wooley, shakuhachi player and composer Jeffrey Lependorf, sound artist Maria Chavez, Sun Ra altoist Marshall Allen, electronics players Doug Theriault and Tom Hamilton, multi-instrumentalists Omar Faruk Tekbilek and Bobak Salehi, Borbetomagus guitarist Donald Miller, and dancers Tere Mathern, Yuko Ota, and Vanessa Skantze. Past projects have included the duo Shunyata with New York electronics player Brian Moran (20022010), improv power trio Chainworks with Brian Moran and pianist Dan DeChellis (2001–2007), Sephardic music and theater group Adelantre led by flautist/vocalist Katie Down (2005–2006), improv group Two Moon Ensemble (2000–2001), traditional Sufi ensemble Soroosh (1995–2002), Layne Redmond’s previously all-female (before me) percussion ensemble Mob of Angels (1993–94), improv/industrial duo Alexis at Spala (1986–88), noise band Munich 72 (198485), and NY/NJ dada-noise legends Children in Adult Jails (guest, 1984–85).

I’ve performed for New York’s World Music Institute and Portland's Creative Music Guild, for numerous Persian cultural and arts groups on the east and west coasts, and at venues including the United Nations General Assembly Hall, the Iranian Mission to the UN, the New England Conservatory, the Miami Iranian Cultural Festival, the Improvisation Summit of Portland, the Old Church Concert Hall (OR), the Salem World Beat Festival (OR), the Ko Festival (MA), and New York venues Symphony Space, Roulette, the Issue Project Room, the Brooklyn Museum, the Society for Ethical Culture, St. Marks on the Bowery, Washington Square Church, and ABC No Rio, plus the late, lamented Tonic, CBGBs, and (Tribeca-era) Knitting Factory. I've released over 20 recordings, including two solo percussion CDs, two solo electronic and electro-acoustic recordings, and duo recordings with oboist Catherine Lee, shakuhachi master Jeffrey Lependorf, electronics player Brian Moran, and guitarist Ernesto Diaz-Infante. Upcoming recording projects and releases include John Cage: Four Realizations for Solo Percussion (Notice Recordings, 2018), a recording of Christian Wolff's Stones and Michael Pisaro's Six Stones (release date TBD), and the Lee + Hannafin Duo's second recording, featuring works by John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, and others.

I’ve taught Persian classical and traditional percussion privately since 1999.


Recordings marked "buy" are available as paid downloads via the links provided. Recordings marked "download" are available free. Recordings marked with an asterisk can be ordered direct from me. Drop a line.

Catherine Lee & Matt Hannafin Five Shapes: Improvisations for Oboe d'Amore & Percussion (2015): Duo improvisations recorded at Hudson Concert Hall, Salem, Oregon, August 16, 2014 [buy]

Hz (with Z'ev, Steve Hubback, and Ken Hyder) (2014): A virtual collaboration, with tracks by Hannafin, Hubback, and Hyder (the H's) chopped, processed, and remixed by Z'ev (the z) [buy]

Matt Hannafin No. 1 for Malcolm
(2013): A 36-minute composition for solo live electronics and processed percussion, recorded February 2010 [buy]

Matt Hannafin Cradle Tones (2013): Electronic drone pieces [download - scroll A-Z list for link]

Jeffrey Lependorf & Matt Hannafin Eight Songs Between Morning and Dark (2013): Studio duos for shakuhachi and percussion [buy]

Shunyata Avant Yard: 10-31-08 (2008): Live electronics/percussion improvisations, recorded outdoors in Brooklyn, NY [download]

Shunyata + Nate Wooley 2@NYC: Mar+Apr 2007 (2007): Live electronics/percussion/trumpet improvisations, recorded at the {R}ake series and ABC No Rio, NYC [buy]

Jeffrey Lependorf, Brian Moran, Matt Hannafin & Ravi Padmanabha Four Ideas of Stillness (2006): Live shakuhachi/electronics/percussion (x2) improvisations, recorded outdoors in Brooklyn, NY [download]

Matt Hannafin & Rebecca Morris Honey Moon (2005): Environmental musique concrète, with occasional instrumental additions *

Chris Welcome, Matt Hannafin, Han Degc, and Motoko Shimizu ABC No Rio, 8-21-05 (2005): Live guitar/percussion/sax/voice/toys improvisations from ABC No Rio, NYC

Brian Moran & Matt Hannafin Shunyata (2005): Live electronics/percussion improvisations, recorded outdoors in Brooklyn, NY [buy]

Matt Hannafin, Brian Moran & Nate Wooley 11-07-04: This Machine Kills Fascists (2004): Live trumpet/electronics/percussion improvisations from ABC No Rio, NYC

Matt Hannafin & Brian Moran Bar XVI_Afterparty (2004): Live percussion improvisations chopped and manipulated by Brian Moran *

Matt Hannafin & Brian Moran SubTonic, 9-4-04 (2004): Live electronics/percussion improvisations [buy]

Donald Miller, Blaise Siwula & Matt Hannafin Sixteen-Minute Boo-Yah Cataclysm (2004): Short, intense guitar/sax/percussion improvisation from ABC No Rio, NYC [buy]

Matt Hannafin Eight Pieces in Suspended Time (2004): Solo studio pieces for low drums and metals [buy]

Ernesto Diaz-Infante & Matt Hannafin All the States Between (2004): Extreme-ambient sound collage mixing electronics, field recordings, and radical turntablism with extended-technique percussion [buy]

Chainworks Twenty Minutes in Brooklyn (2003): Live trio improvisations featuring Dan DeChellis (piano), Brian Moran (electronics), and Matt Hannafin (percussion) [download]

Chainworks Victory Sessions (2002): Trio studio improvisations featuring Dan DeChellis (piano), Brian Moran (electronics), and Matt Hannafin (percussion) *

Chainworks Red Rooms (2002): Live trio improvisations featuring Dan DeChellis (piano), Brian Moran (electronics), and Matt Hannafin (percussion) *

Two Moon Trio Live at the Three Jewels, NYC (bootleg, 2002): Live group improvisations featuring Muriel Vergnaud (flutes), Rich Gross (clarinet, recorder), and Matt Hannafin (percussion)

Two Moon Ensemble Incidences (2000): Group studio improvisations featuring Muriel Vergnaud (flutes), Rich Gross (clarinet, recorder), Neel Murgai (sitar, daf), and Matt Hannafin (percussion)

Matt Hannafin Liberation (2000): Solo and multi-track percussion pieces, recorded on four-track cassette in the late 20th century *


Christian Wolff's Stones and Pauline OIiveros's Rock Piece, with Loren Chasse, Tim DuRoche, and Branic Howard, at the Extradition Series (2016)

Tombak solo, Conduit Dance, Portland (2014)

Duo improvisation #1 with Jeffrey Lependorf (shakuhachi) at Conduit Dance, Portland (2014)

Duo improvisation #2 with Jeffrey Lependorf (shakuhachi) at Conduit Dance, Portland (2014)

Full duo set with Loren Chasse at the Improvisation Summit of Portland

Improvisation with Tere Mathern (dance) and Catherine Lee (oboe d'amore) at the Outset Series, Portland (2013)

Performing "Piece for Anvil & Triangle" live at the Outset Series, Portland (2013)

Performing "1 + 1 and Improvisation" at the Outset Series, Portland

Performing "31 for La Monte Young" at the Outset Series, Portland (2013)

Tombak improvisation 1 (2012)

Tombak improvisation 2 (2012)

Tombak improvisation 3 (2013)

Shunyata, outdoor performance (2008)


John Cage, Song No. 85 + Branches (with Michael Stirling, Loren Chasse, and Branic Howard, 2017)

Vanessa Tomlinson, Still and Moving Paper (2016)

Michael Pisaro, Six Stones (with Loren Chasse and Branic Howard, 2016)

Robert J. Kirkpatrick, No. 4 from The Book of Musical Patterns (with Evan Spacht, 2016)

Jurg Frey, Glafsered I/II/IV (with Dana Reason, Jonathan Sielaff, and Loren Chasse, 2016)

John Cage's "Ryoanji" for oboe, flute, and percussion (with Catherine Lee and John C. Savage, 2016)

Lee + Hannafin Duo, Improvisation No. 2, at the Extradition Series (2016)

John Cage's "One4" for solo percussionist (2013)

See Discography for links to albums available online, some paid, some free

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