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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

Thinking outside the drum box


April 24, 2016
Carrie Seidman

Say percussion and what most people think of is drums. But that’s a far too limited description of the instruments played by Third Coast Percussion, a quartet returning to Sarasota this weekend as the final performers in the New Music New College concert series.

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Classical CDs Weekly: Elgar, Ives, Reich, Walton

arts desk

April 9, 2016
by Graham Rickson

Steve Reich: Mallet Quartet, Sextet, Nagoya Marimbas, Music for Pieces of Wood Third Coast Percussion (Cedille)

This is the greatest percussion disc I have ever heard, both in terms of playing and recording. In the words of Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion, Steve Reich’s music has “shown audiences how percussion can be absolutely essential… it seems to have marimbas and vibraphones in its very DNA.” Reich’s own recordings of his music on Nonesuch should be on everyone’s shelves, but these performances are sharper still. continue reading »

Next Gen Steve Reich: Two Great New Recordings


April 3, 2016
by Allan Cronin

One of the hurdles on the way to long-term historical recognition is finding the next generation of interpreters for whom the music itself is not new but whose interpretation is needed anew in light of the music’s place in the canon of performed and recorded music. So Mr. Reich has now arrived in two fantastic new recordings.

The first CD here is the Cedille (Cedille 90000 161) label debut by Third Coast Percussion, a young Chicago based group.  The label itself is reason enough to pay attention with their intelligently selected and well-recorded releases.  But even so this one stands out for a couple of reasons.

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Recording of the Week: Third Coast Percussion, Steve Reich

big scity

March 31, 2016
by George Grella

New recordings of the music of Steve Reich are easy to recommend: he’s arguably the most important composer of the last fifty years, and because he’s a contemporary, every new release adds to our understanding of his work. That is as true for poorly played recordings and of lesser compositions; the bad stuff sets the good stuff into greater relief.

There is nothing bad on this recording in terms of either the writing or the playing, it is all very good. The most recent work is the Mallet Quartet, from 2009 (originally released on a Nonesuch disc in 2011 along with WTC 9/11 and Dance Patterns). This is one of Reichs’ finest recent works—propulsive, and mixing his developing ideas about harmony and form with this exceptional ear for integrated patterns and syncopation. Third Coast Percussion’s performance is excellent, it swings and has a beautiful sonority. This is also one of the best engineered recordings I’ve heard in years—Dan Nichols set it down at Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center—with a lush, clear presence. continue reading »

Third Coast Percussion, music of Steve Reich


March 18, 2016
by Joshua Kosman

With each passing year, the work of the pioneering minimalist composers — Steve Reich chief among them — moves further from being the private domain of the creators and their performing associates to take a place in the standard repertoire. That means that a recording as splendid and distinctive as this new release by the Chicago quartet Third Coast Percussion is, in its own way, comparable to another ensemble playing Beethoven or Stravinsky.

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New Releases: Third Coast Percussion & Steve Reich


February 29, 2016
by Jeff Zumfelde

Steve Reich turned 80 in October 2016. Third Coast Percussion kicks off the party with this excellent disc that includes a piece from each of the last four decades. Their playing is warm, fluid and very human. The ensemble pulls extra levels of dramatic tension from these pieces with their wonderfully expressive dynamics, especially on Sextet and Mallet Quartet. The tempo for “Nagoya Marimbas” is slightly more relaxed than the original recording from the 1990s and the piece breathes and dances as a result. The contrasts in color that Third Coast achieves here are quite effective and emotionally engaging.

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Third Coast Percussion releases a Steve Reich album on Cedille Records





February 21, 2016

by Stephen Smoliar

Third Coast Percussion is a Chicago-based quartet of percussionists that was formed in 2004 by Anthony Calabrese, Robert Dillon, Jacob Nissly, and David Skidmore. At the time they were both percussionists with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago and students at Northwestern University. (The “third coast,” presumably, is that of Lake Michigan.) In the current group Sean Connors and Peter Martin have replaced Calabrese and Nissly. While Chicago is “home,” the group is currently ensemble-in-residence at the University of Notre Dame.

 As might be guessed, the group has an active commissioning effort; and Skidmore is one of the contributing composers. They also collaborate with other Chicago-based groups, including Eighth Blackbird, the International Contemporary Ensemble, and Hubbard Street Dance. They have been recording since 2008 and participated in a project to record the works for percussion by John Cage. This has involved them with labels such as Mode Records, New Focus Recordings, and New Amsterdam Records.

Last month Third Coast Percussion released its debut album with Cedille Records. The album offers four of Steve Reich’s most notable percussion works and was produced as their way of acknowledging that composer’s 80th birthday, which will take place later this year on October 3. In chronological order the works on the new album are “Music for Pieces of Wood” (1973), “Sextet” (1984), “Nagoya Marimbas” (1994), and “Mallet Quartet” (2009).

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ALBUM REVIEW: Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich





February 15, 2016

by Maggie Molloy

Minimalist composer Steve Reich is best known for his experiments into “phase music”—that is, music which features two (or more) musicians playing identical lines of music, synchronously at first, but gradually shifting out of unison with one another. As the cycle slowly unfolds, new melodies are created by the ever-changing aural interactions of the two identical lines of music.

But just like his phase music, Reich never repeated the same thing exactly twice—in fact, over the past five decades he has built an extraordinary compositional career by maximizing very minimal melodic content. That’s because his compositions are music ofprocess, and his melodies are created through use of repetitive figures, slow harmonic rhythm and canons, perpetual cycles, and, of course, unwavering originality.

With his explorations into rhythm and articulation, Reich redefined the melodic possibilities of percussion instruments in particular—which is why Third Coast Percussion decided to pay tribute to the minimalist mastermind in their latest album, titled “Steve Reich.”

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Mesmerizing Reich From Third Coast Percussion





February 12, 2016

by David Hurwitz

Steve Reich’s music for (mostly) mallet percussion will either hold you enthralled or knock you unconscious, but there’s no in-between. One thing is certain: the musical idiom perfectly suits the instrumentation. Even Music for Pieces of Wood, which can sound like the noise your refrigerator makes when the ice maker is on the fritz, offers a fascinatingly musical study in rhythm and–yes–harmony, amazingly produced with only a few fixed pitches. At least, it does that in these superb performances.

This is extremely challenging music to produce effectively. It has to be played with machine-like precision, but at the same time it ought not to sound machine-like. In these performances there is a buoyancy to the perpetually pulsating rhythms in the Mallet Quartet and (above all) the lengthy Sextet that somehow conveys that joy in movement that seems to be what this music is all about–to the extent it’s about anything at all. Those gently but inexorably shifting rhythmic and harmonic patterns spring vividly to life.

That said, I wouldn’t recommend playing through the disc at a sitting, unless of course you’re planning on spending a full hour in a trance or some other meditative state. One thing is certain: the sonics are just perfect–amazingly lifelike, placing the ensemble in an ideal acoustic so that the actual timbres never become fatiguing. We haven’t heard much from Reich lately, on disc at least. Here’s a potent reminder of what an original musical force he was, and still is.

Read the original article here.