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Praise

“Virtuosity and deft, precisely timed wit”
-Washington Post

“Commandingly elegant”
-New York Times

“Vibrant…superb”
-Alex Ross, The New Yorker

“An inspirational sense of fun and curiosity”
-Minnesota Star-Tribune

“The group performed with absolute aplomb”
-Boston Globe

“Dynamic”
-Chicago Tribune

“Mysterious, funny, endlessly inventive”
-Boston Classical Review

“Brilliant”
-Independent (UK)

“Technical precision, palpable groove and outstanding sound”
-Time Out New York 

“Hard-grooving”
-New York Times

“Savvy and hyper-talented young percussionists”
-Musical Toronto

“Fluency and zest”
-Andrew Clements, the Guardian (UK)

“Undeniably groovy…masterfully performed”
-Time Out Chicago

“One of the country’s finest new music ensembles”
-Chicago Reader

“The musicality and fierce focus of Third Coast Percussion electrified the room.”
-Sarasota Herald-Tribune 

Reviews and Features

Third Coast Percussion Soars After Winning Grammy Award

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August 29, 2017
by Louis Harris

Last year’s Ear Taxi Festival put Chicago’s vibrant contemporary art music scene on display, demonstrating a deep and talented community of local composers and performers. One of the brightest lights of our scene is Third Coast Percussion, a quartet of classically trained musicians who specialize in hitting objects with mallets, drum sticks, hammers, hands, fingers—anything that elicits a rhythmic sound from another object.  …  Their music is not centered on bongos or a drum kit; rather, it features marimbas, vibraphones, bells, triangles, cymbals, chimes, gongs, and all manner of resounding objects.

The ensemble has now won their first Grammy, toured internationally, and completed their first collective musical compositions. In reflecting on TCP’s aspirations, Skidmore said, “To continue to reach new audiences is a big thing for us, and that means not just here in the States but also overseas. We’d like to do more international touring, including Europe, Asia, Africa, South America.” Summing it up, he said, “I think that the work that we’ve done so far is indicative of the work that we want to do. We want to continue to champion this music. It will always be new to somebody; it’s such a new art form. If we spent our lives playing concerts for people who have never heard of percussion concerts, that would be enough, that would be a fantastic idea to me.”

They are proud for these concerts to take place in Chicago, their starting point and still their home. “What we found about Chicago is that it is an incredibly thriving artistic scene,” explained Skidmore, “but it doesn’t come with the prohibitive price tag of New York, San Francisco, or certain other cities. To be an artist here, you can start young, really scrappy, just pulling together work here and there, and doing what you’re really passionate about. It’s hard, just as hard here as anywhere else. But there’s a support structure, there are other people who are into what you’re doing. … I think it’s an amazing place to be as an artist.”

Read more about their past, present, and future here. 


CD Reviews: The Book of Keyboards

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by Blair Sanderson
August 29, 2017

For its third release on the New Focus label, the Chicago-based ensemble Third Coast Percussion presents works by the French composer Philippe Manoury in an album of intriguing tone color studies called “The Book of Keyboards.”   …   The performances have a hypnotic quality, and Third Coast Percussion delivers plenty of atmosphere, though the ensemble’s playing is clearly well-rehearsed and precise.

Click here to read the full review. 


CD reviews: a Reich retrospective.

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April 15, 2016
by Patrick Rucker

REICH: Third Coast Percussion: Cedille Records

In artistic matters, labeling anyone “the greatest” almost always boils down to oversimplification or hyperbole. But it is difficult to argue with Kyle Gann, who wrote that Steve Reich “may be considered, by general acclamation, America’s greatest living composer.” Reich turns 80 in October, and the Chicago-based group Third Coast Percussion has devoted its latest recording to works spanning his long career. TCP — Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin and David Skidmore — describe themselves as “second generation” Reich interpreters, meaning that none of them worked with the composer and all of them came of age when his music was already established in the repertory.

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Three Takes on a Minimalist Pioneer

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by Allan Kozinn
July 4, 2016

Not so long ago, new recordings of Steve Reich’s music, while intended, on one level, for the enjoyment of the composer’s fans, were just as importantly in the business of documenting Mr. Reich’s evolving style. Most of the performances were by his own ensemble, Steve Reich and Musicians, or by the musicians who commissioned the works, usually with Mr. Reich supervising. It was not certain that these works would ever have second recordings, and at the time that didn’t matter: When you have music that is essentially rhythm-driven, with motoric surfaces and a modernistic rejection of emotionalism in favor of precision, what more do you need than a recording made under the composer’s imprimatur?

As it turns out, Mr. Reich’s work is as interpretable as the Beethoven string quartets or the Boulez piano sonatas. Alarm Will Sound made that point with its debut recording, a 2002 pairing of “Tehillim” with a revised version of “The Desert Music” that offered fresh views of works listeners thought they knew thoroughly. Since then, there has been a flood of Reich recordings made without the composer looking on. And with his 80th birthday approaching (on Oct. 3), three new discs join the queue: the London Symphony Orchestra Percussion Ensemble’s “Sextet | Clapping Music | Music for Pieces of Wood” (LSO Live); Third Coast Percussion’s “Steve Reich” (Çedille) and Ensemble Signal’s “Double Sextet/Radio Rewrite” (Harmonia Mundi).

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In a 1977 live recording from the Kitchen (Orange Mountain), Mr. Reich and company give a speedy, almost breathless account. Exciting as it is, there is something to be said for slowing the pace, as both the LSO percussionists and Third Coast Percussion do. The LSO version is oddly muted, though it has a measure of dynamic nuance, particularly in the work’s middle section, that Mr. Reich’s reading lacks. But it pales in comparison to the Third Coast performance.

For starters, Third Coast uses slats of purpleheart wood, which produce a rounder, more resonant tone than the claves Mr. Reich prescribes, and its performance, while rhythmically strict, has moments of dynamic suppleness that make the piece breathe in ways its competitors’ versions do not.

A similar difference in clarity defines the Third Coast and LSO readings of the magnificently contrapuntal Sextet (1984). Both take a less sharp-edged, aggressive view than Mr. Reich and his own ensemble did on their 1987 recording (Nonesuch), and where the balances on Mr. Reich’s discs sound carefully manipulated at the mixing board, the Third Coast and LSO recordings sound natural and organic.

But the LSO recording has a gauzy quality that makes the work’s keyboard and percussion timbres (sometimes bowed) sound seamlessly blended. The remarkable clarity of the Third Coast version, which gives every instrument a distinct profile, is more effective. Third Coast’s program is more generous as well: The disc also includes vital, bright-hued accounts of “Nagoya Marimbas” (1994) and the richly chromatic, three-movement “Mallet Quartet” (2009).

 

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Click here to read the original article.


Top 10 Classical Albums

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December 23, 2016
by Zoë Madonna

REICH: MALLET QUARTET, SEXTET, NAGOYA MARIMBAS AND MUSIC FOR PIECES OF WOOD

Third Coast Percussion These Chicago-based percussion adventurers ride Reich’s phasing waves with a subtle hint of slink. This is a record so translucent and playful that the phrases seem to leap out of your headphones, and individual blocks of wood melt into a blissful flow.

Click here for original article. 


New Sounds: With Third Coast Percussion

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May 25, 2017
by John Shaefer

Members of Chicago-based quartet Third Coast Percussion, Robert Dillon and David Skidmore, present an exclusive preview of a rehearsal recording of major piece for percussion by Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy. It’s a large work for tuned drums, inspired by the traditional frame drum, the bodhran, and based on the overtone series. Players get to bend the pitches and venture into the world of microtonal music. Listen to these tom tom drums with surgical tubes attached for a player to exhale and alter the pitch of the drum by expanding the column of air inside in Dennehy’s piece, “Surface Tension.”

Also, hear Reich’s “Nagoya Marimbas” along with “Mallet Quartet,” from their brand new recording of music by Steve Reich. A fun aside: Third Coast Percussion has created a mobile app for users to interact with Steve Reich. Look for the app “Third Coast Percussion, the music of Steve Reich,” coming soon to an iPhone near you.

Plus, listen to a work from drummer/composer David T. Little for Third Coast Percussion, “Haunt of Last Nightfall,” which looks to a tragic 1981 massacre at El Mozote, El Salvador.

Click here to listen to the full interview.


One With Nature: Musical piece encompasses Artosphere values

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May 19, 2017
by Jocelyn Murphy

What do you get when you bring together just shy of 100 musicians, spread them around an outdoor venue and give them a piece of music that celebrates and blends with the nature around it?

“Inuksuit” swells to a very chaotic, very climactic middle section, and then recedes back into the soundscape of the garden, shares Sean Connors with Third Coast Percussion. The Grammy-winning percussion ensemble will host the striking musical piece at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks tonight. “And one of the cool things that happens, at least in every performance I’ve been a part of, is the piece ends with some flutes and glockenspiels emulating bird calls, and we’ve always experienced birds singing back to us, so the last sound you hear are living, real wild birds.”

Click here to read the original article.



Interconnectedness: An Interview with Third Coast Percussion

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April 25, 2017
by Sumner Coy
Interview with Katy Henriksen

Third Coast Percussion’s expansive take on Steve Reich earned them a Grammy this year, and the group has forged a reputation for opening up to the audience in novel ways–such as the use of smartphone apps to offer intimate participation and awareness of the process.

“I think most people are curious, creative people, and if you appeal to people’s curious nature, that’s a point of connection,” explains Third Coast member Sean Connors to Of Note’s Katy Henriksen.

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Preview: Music of Augusta Read Thomas to be Celebrated This Saturday Night

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April 25, 2017
by Louis Harris

Coming on the heels of Augusta Read Thomas’ recent appointment to head the new Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition, the Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago will be hosting a concert of her music this Saturday evening. This event brings together the Spektral Quartet and Third Coast Percussion, two Chicago quartets who were nominated for this year’s Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, a prize that Third Coast won for its recording of music by Steve Reich.

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