Rolando Morales-Matos

percussionist | vibraphonist | composer

Rolando Morales-Matos is a percussionist, vibraphonist & composer.

Rolando Morales-Matos is a well sought after Latin, Jazz and Classical percussionist. He is a band leader/vibraphonist/composer of Latin Jazz group Rolando Morales-Matos & Forward. He has toured worldwide performing at the major jazz festivals and venues as a member of Ron Carter Foursight Quartet, as well as appearing with artists such as Paquito D’Rivera, Dave Samuels, Dave Valentine, Willie Colon, William Cepeda, to name a few. Rolando has recorded with Ron Carter, Celine Dion, Michael Bolton, Birdland Big Band, as well as numerous film soundtracks and classical works. In 2006, Rolando was the recipient of Drum Magazine's World Beat Percussionist of the Year Award. Since 1997, he has been the Percussionist and Assistant Conductor of the Tony Award- winning Broadway musical The Lion King. Rolando has developed unique vocabularies of playing melodies on non-pitched instruments such as drums, cowbells, cymbals and more. His published works include the textbook “Techniques and Basic Patterns for Congas, Timbales, and Bongos” and over 20 compositions for percussion ensemble. In 2008, Rolando released his solo album “From The Earth” featuring the Hang Drum, and most recently, his Latin Jazz group’s debut album “Forward”.

Also as an accomplished classical musician, Rolando frequently performs with The Philadelphia Orchestra. Previously, he was the Principle Percussionist of Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia in Spain, the Guest Principle Timpanist of New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, and performed with Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Symphony while he was busy touring worldwide with many salsa and popular artists from Latin America.

Rolando Morales-Matos is a faculty member at Curtis Institute of Music, Temple University, The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, New Jersey City University and gives clinics and master classes at many universities and conservatories. He has given clinics at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in 1999, 2001, and 2003.

Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Percussionist Rolando Morales-Matos began his musical studies at the prestigious high school for the performing arts, Escuela Libre de Música and started touring with popular artists at the age of 15. He moved to the States and received his Bachelor’s degree in Classical Percussion Performance from Carnegie Mellon University, Master’s degree from Duquesne University, and Certificate of Professional Studies from Temple University.

Rolando Morales-Matos endorses Pearl Drums and Adams Musical Instruments, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, and Evans drumheads.