Ba-dum ching.

My musical world is split: experimental music and free improvisation on 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, Marian Zazeela, and Pandit Pran Nath. For experimental and improvised music, my approach blends the techniques and timbres of eastern music with ideas and sonorities borrowed from nature, electronic music, and the broader post-Cage experimental tradition.

Ongoing projects include the Lee + Hannafin Duo with oboist Catherine Lee and duo performances with percussionist and sound artist Loren Chasse. 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 employing stones, plant, and other natural materials. Since January 2016 I've served as founder, curator, and director of Extradition, a concert series that exists at the intersection of composition and improvisation, intentionality and chance, clarity and silence.

Other current and past collaborators have included trumpeter Nate Wooley, shakuhachi player and composer Jeffrey Lependorf, composer/guitarist/sound artist Branic Howard, Sun Ra altoist Marshall Allen, sound artist Maria Chavez, 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 (2002–2010), 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 (1984–85), 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, 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 three 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. My latest release is John Cage: Four Realizations for Solo Percussion (Notice Recordings, 2018). In 2019, the Extradition Ensemble’s performance of Antoine Beuger’s Now Is the Moment to Learn Hope will be released on A New Wave of Jazz (Belgium).

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


The following text and graphic scores are free to download and perform. Please get in touch to inform me about performances.

One Hand, Two Hands (solo, open instrumentation)

Rivers, Lakes & Puddles (solo, open instrumentation)

The Seven-Layered Garden (solo or ensemble, open instrumentation)

Bone Contours (solo or ensemble, open instrumentation)

Station to Station (solo or ensemble, open instrumentation)

SETI Sessions (radios + open ensemble)

The Stories We Tell Each Other (trio, open instrumentation)

Driftwood & Seastone (solo or ensemble, natural materials + electronics)

Post Box Music (solo or ensemble, cardboard boxes)

Honor Roll (solo, any melodic instrument)

Music for Slow Cymbal (solo, percussion)

Max Hats for Alvin (solo, percussion)

Door to Door (solo or ensemble, percussion)

Directions of Travel (solo or ensemble, percussion)

The Chicago Way (solo or ensemble, percussion)


Recordings marked "buy" are available as paid downloads via the links provided. Recordings marked "download" are available as free downloads. 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 *