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

“Commandingly elegant”
-New York Times

-Alex Ross, The New Yorker

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

“The group performed with absolute aplomb”
-Boston Globe

-Chicago Tribune

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

-Independent (UK)

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

-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

LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI Worldwide: Third Coast Percussion from Chicago


April 12, 2017
Interview by Jeffrey Young

Third Coast Percussion is a percussion quartet based in Chicago that tours nationally and internationally, commissions new works, and just won a GRAMMY for their album Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich. Third Coast members David Skidmore (participant in the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY in 2005-08) and Robert Dillon (2003-05, 2007-08) spoke to Jeffrey Young about winning a GRAMMY, their time in Lucerne, and more.

Jeffrey Young: How did your time in Lucerne impact you and your young ensemble?
David Skidmore: The experiences I had at Lucerne were hugely important to my own musicianship and my love of new music, enabling me to work with world class composers and perform new music at a really high level. I went to Lucerne for the first time in 2005 and that was exactly the year Third Coast started. I think the overlap was important and fortuitous because of how much I learned about new music at Lucerne.
Robert Dillon: It introduced us to some great friends who are still important collaborators for Third Coast. In a couple of months we’re going to have two fellow alumni who live in Europe performing with us in Chicago, Johannes Fischer and Domenico Melchiorre. Then there are great musicians in America we met at Lucerne who have been collaborators over the years like Ross Karre and Nick Terry. You can see the influence of Lucerne on Third Coast’s programming as well. We have a very strong rooting in American composers like Steve Reich, John Cage, and many others, but we also got very excited about some of the great European modernist composers we discovered or performed in Lucerne like Gérard Grisey and György Ligeti. In a very real sense, I think our experiences in Lucerne helped to broaden our aesthetic interests.

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Grammy winner Third Coast Percussion to play free show at USC


March 22, 2017
by Erin Shaw

The music of Third Coast Percussion is so much more than drums. In a show, the quartet might play four marimbas simultaneously one minute and tap Japanese singing bowls the next.

Anything can be an instrument, and TCP’s dedication to exploring new sounds make the group a fitting bookend to the University of South Carolina’s Southern Exposure New Music Series.

The Chicago-based group is fresh off a Grammy win for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, the first percussion ensemble to win a Grammy in that category.

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Interview: Third Coast Percussion Headlines 2017 {Re}HAPPENING

March 2017
by Ali McGheeJust last month, the four members of Chicago’s Third Coast Percussion—David Skidmore, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and Sean Connors—won the first Grammy ever awarded in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance to a percussion ensemble. Awarded for their album Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich (2016, Cedille Records), the Grammy is groundbreaking for the world of avant-garde music, but it’s also just one among many accomplishments Third Coast can now list. This weekend, Third Coast will add another flower to their cap: they’ll be playing at Saturday’s {Re}HAPPENING, which takes places at Lake Eden in Black Mountain from 3-10 p.m.

The {Re}HAPPENING will be a kind of homecoming for the group, which continues to pull inspiration from people associated with the college, particularly John Cage and Lou Harrison. They trace this legacy of influence through Steve Reich and on to themselves. Their Grammy-winning album, released the year of Reich’s eightieth birthday, is a celebration of a lineage they continue to propel forward.

REVIEW: Music for 18 Musicians


March 19, 2017
by Karalyn Schubring

Last night, Hill Auditorium throbbed with the pulsing patterns, reverberating rhythms, and crunchy chords of the one and only Steve Reich. The seats were packed with fans (and critics) of the Pulitzer-Prize winning composer for the UMS premieres of Reich’s music by Chicago-based ensembles Eighth Blackbird and Third Coast Percussion, in celebration of the composer’s eightieth birth year.

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Interview: Third Coast Percussion Comes To Town


March 2, 2017
Interview by Joshua Zinn

Rob Dillon of the recent Grammy-winning percussion group talks about their upcoming Houston concert and the music of Steve Reich.

“Surreal” is how Rob Dillon described Third Coast Percussion‘s recent Grammy Award for “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance” for their album Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich. And part of that Grammy success will be presented on stage when the ensemble performs in Houston presented by the Society for the Performing Arts this weekend! On the concert will be one of the pieces from the CD, Reich’s Mallet Quartet. In describing the piece, Dillon says that it has “that rhythmic drive that comes from a lot of Reich’s earlier works,” but it is different from the process-driven minimalism the composer was known for in his early career.

As percussionists, the group greatly benefits from twentieth and twenty-first century composers like Steve Reich: “As a percussion quartet, we’re a fairly young art form within the classical music world… Beethoven didn’t write percussion quartets, unfortunately! But there are a couple of composers particularly who featured percussion so prominently in their works that it’s helped us come into our own… and I think Steve Reich is one of those composers.”

Click here to listen to the full interview.

An Interview with Grammy-Winning Third Coast Percussion’s Rob Dillon

Primephonic logos round 2.2

February 16, 2017
Interview by Rachel Deloughry

Third Coast Percussion, a dynamic Chicago-based quartet have just won a Grammy for the best small ensemble category! primephonic spoke to one of their members, Rob Dillon, about the percussionists’s world, from orchestral and chamber music to Ghanaian and Zimbabwean drumming in unique collaborations, as well as delving into the sound-universe of Steve Reich’s works.

Click here to read the full interview.

Alumni percussion ensemble wins a Grammy


February 16, 2017
by Kelley Czajka

Third Coast Percussion, a classical percussion ensemble comprising four NU alumni, took home a Grammy award Sunday night. Its album “Steve Reich” won the award for Best Chamber Group/Small Ensemble Performance.

This was the first time the group had been nominated for or awarded a Grammy, as well as the first time any percussion group has won a chamber music category, Third Coast member Robert Dillon said.

“We’re very proud of the work that we’ve done and are thrilled to have the honor, but we also definitely recognize that for music, it’s something that’s passed down from one generation to the next through teachers and mentors of all kinds,” Dillon said.

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After Grammy win, Third Coast Percussion comes to Columbia


February 16, 2017
Meredith McGrath

On Sunday, Third Coast Percussion took home this year’s Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.

Now for the first time, the ensemble is headed to our neck of the woods to work with local music students and perform at the Missouri Theatre on Friday.

The quartet from Chicago gave an educational performance for students at Lee Expressive Arts Elementary School on Tuesday and has been working with students at the MU School of Music.

Percussion students had the opportunity to attend a seminar with the group, where they learned about its background, received career advice and had their own performances critiqued by the professionally trained percussionists.

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Northwestern alumni percussion group nominated for Grammys, attribute success to university


February 9, 2017
by Rishika Dugyala

Peter Martin was not having a good morning.

It was 8 a.m. on Dec. 6 and Martin (Bienen ‘04, ‘11) was rushing to get to his classical percussion ensemble’s — Third Coast Percussion — studio space to start practicing before all the musicians began their group rehearsal at 10 a.m.

The week was a busy one for the group: They had an intense rehearsal schedule to prepare for a couple of recording sessions, and they were in the middle of an educational project at an elementary school on the South Side of Chicago.

“I’ve got to get to the studio; I’ve got to get there,” Martin thought, stumbling out of his Chicago apartment. But as soon as the door shut, he froze. He had left his keys on the counter, locking himself out.

Frustrated, Martin spent about a half hour sorting out the situation before he finally began his walk to the studio. But moments later, his morning luck changed. His phone chimed with a text message. It was his sister congratulating him.

His group’s album, “Steve Reich,” had just been nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award.

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