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Colin’s Corner: Third Coasters

Welcome back to Colin’s Corner, where our resident superhero and studio manager Colin Campbell takes you into his world of incredible craftsmanship to show off some of the instruments and works of art he creates for Third Coast. Colin has recently created some beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces for Third Coast, and they aren’t just gorgeous and functional: they are also punny.

The “third coasters” were actually reverse-engineered from an atrocious pun. Well, a double pun really. Third Coast Percussion needed some special gifts to thank some of our generous donors for their continued support. And then, inspiration struck. Why not make some “third coasters” for Third Coast to say, “Thanks for being a Third-Coaster?” A double pun! The total eclipse of puns! Now that we had the wordplay, the rest was easy…

Like what you hear, too? Check out our newest album Paddle to the Seaavailable on Cedille Records.

Check back soon for another visit to Colin’s Corner! Word on the street is he’s restoring some wicked cool metal anklung right now…but not for us. Alas.

See you soon!

 

 

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Announcing our 2018/19 Emerging Composers Partnership Collaborators

Please join us in congratulating Amanda Feery and Hunter Ewen, the composers selected for our 2018/19 Emerging Composers Partnership! We look forward to collaborating with both Amanda and Hunter to create new works by each, which will be premiered next season. Read more about these outstanding music-makers below and click their names above to hear some of their music.

We received 135 applications this year, representing a dozen countries across five continents, and over half were from first time applicants!  The remarkable variety and depth of creativity displayed by all of the proposals was truly inspiring, and we have no doubt that adventurous music in our field is alive and well! Thank you to everyone who submitted music and ideas this year.

The deadline for the next round of submissions to the Emerging Composers Partnership (projects to be completed in the 2019/20 season) will be October 31, 2018. 

Amanda Feery is a composer writing for acoustic, electronic and improvisatory forces. Much of her inspiration comes from literature, visual art, and folklore. She has written for orchestral, chamber and vocal ensembles, theatre, kinetic sculpture, and multimedia.
She currently divides her time between Ireland and Princeton, where she is completing a Phd in Composition, with a dissertation focussing on Kate Bush’s song cycle, The Ninth Wave.
Collaborators include RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Crash Ensemble, Chamber Choir Ireland, RTÉ ConTempo Quartet, Ensemble Mise-en, Dither, Bearthoven, Mivos Quartet, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, This is How we Fly, Orkest de Ereprijs, Lisa Moore, Amanda Gookin, Michelle O’Rourke, and Paul Roe.
She has participated as a composer fellow at The Performance Corporation’s Space Program, Ostrava Days Festival, SOUNDscape Festival, Bang on a Can Summer Festival, and the International Young Composers Meeting.
Future projects include works for Alarm Will Sound, Chatham Saxophone Quartet, and Robinson Panoramic Quartet.

Hunter Ewen (b. 1984) is a dramatic composer, educator, and multimedia designer. During the day, Dr. Ewen teaches strategies for digital creativity and programs AI composition software for Amper Music. At night, he composes, solders, choreographs, and writes solo and collaborative projects around the world. His works rail against the faded borders that separate art from science, music from sound, and meaning from meaninglessness. Ewen values frenzy. He buzzes and sneaks and desperately loves. His work is soothing, startling, virtuosic, and absurd. It grooves with dense, layered textures. It lusts for yowls and yips and wails and squeals. For screams that masquerade as art. For clamor and deviance. His compositions swing from chandeliers.

Ewen’s work has garnered awards and performances from SEAMUS, Punto y Raya, Ouroboros Review, The Playground Ensemble, Manchester New Music, CSU Fullerton, New Horizons Festival, MOXsonic, New Music Gathering, EMM, MTNA, Electroacoustic Barn Dance, Gamma UT, Studio 300, and his graphic scores were featured prominently in the Pulitzer Prize nominated book Armor, Amour by Amy Pence. Ewen’s work has been performed across North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia by groups like the Beethoven Academy Orchestra, Cairo Symphony, Silesian Philharmonic, Greater Cleveland Flute Society, Science on a Sphere, Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance, Alarm Will Sound, and by distinguished performers like Greg Banaszak, Lina Bahn, and Bill Mooney. Ewen is published by Ken Dorn, Alphonse LeDuc, Music Minus One, and Theodore Presser.

Third Coast Percussion’s Emerging Composers Partnership is made possible by Louise K. Smith and the Sargent Family Foundation.

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Intern Spotlight: Casey Collins

Happy new year, everyone! We start the year with a third Intern Spotlight, this time featuring the amazing Casey Collins!

Where are you from?

Minneapolis, MN

What is one thing about yourself that you’d want everyone to know?

I love the triangle.

Give us a link to something about you.

Here is a video of a piece written by my good friend Zack Baltich. I had the pleasure of playing the killer vibes part.

What are you up to these days?

I work in the artistic department of the Minnesota Orchestra. I am also pursuing a Master in Arts Administration from the University of Kentucky.

When did you intern with TCP?

May – August 2013

How did you connect with TCP?

I actually had reached out to Fifth House Ensemble about an internship, and knowing I was a percussionist they suggested that I connect with TCP, so I did!

Did you gain anything from the internship that you’d like to share?

This was probably the most valuable experience I had during my undergrad. I learned a lot about what it takes to run a successful arts organization, especially the logistics planning.

What else did you do while interning with TCP?

My first day I was tasked with digitizing the music library, you don’t want to know how many hours that took over the summer…

Did you leave a legacy or mark on the organization that you’re particularly proud of?

Other than purchasing and helping install the biggest window A/C unit I’ve ever seen, I’m really proud of my work on the Emerging Composers Partnership. Sean and I worked the whole summer planning and drafting proposals for this fantastic project.

Favorite memory from the internship?

There are many, but probably my favorite was assisting in the recording of “Haunt of Last Nightfall” by David T. Little. Watching the recording process for this large piece was awesome, and the guys killed it!

A GIF or YouTube link that sums up your experience with TCP?

Balance!

If you were a cartoon character, who would you be?

I think being the cartoon version of David S. Pumpkins would be fun.

Can you share a funny or embarrassing story?

When assembling a marimba I put the accidental bars on the natural rails and started to put the naturals on when Rob said “I think we should switch those around”…must have been a long day!

 

As you can see, an internship with Third Coast Percussion is a great learning opportunity and a fun adventure. If you’re interesting in learning more about an internship with Third Coast, please contact Sean Connors at [email protected].

For now, we will take a little hiatus from Intern Spotlights. Thanks SO much to Bri, Casey, Cameron, and all the other incredible interns we have had over the past couple of years. Your work is so valuable, and our organization couldn’t function without your contributions. Stay tuned for another treasure from Colin’s Corner and more!

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Colin’s Corner: The Pak

Welcome to Colin’s Corner! In this series of blog posts, our resident superhero and studio manager Colin Campbell will take you into his world of incredible craftsmanship to show off some of the instruments and works of art he creates for Third Coast.


This summer, I was tasked with building/acquiring the special instruments required for Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Organ and Percussion Orchestra and Concerto for Violin and Percussion Orchestra.

The first instrument that I made for the Harrison concerti was the “Pak.”

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Harrison gives the following notes in the score:

Entity: Korean clacker
Material: Solid hardwood, about 3/8” thick. 6 slats, tapered.
Spacing: about 3/16”. 3 standard 3/8” cut washers will do.
Construction and operation: Tie the slats and spacer washers firmly together with rawhide or nylon cord. Grasp the end slats and pull the lower ends wide apart, so that all 6 slats should fan out evenly. Swing it together briskly.

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I chose to tackle the pak first because it seemed the simplest to construct. A Google image search turned up some useful pictures of traditional Korean examples. The only materials required were wood, cord, and washers. I made the pak from a single board of African mahogany. Mahogany is a prized hardwood for furniture, and has been used to make drum shells as well.

Making six identical pieces is easier said than done. The curved profile of all six slats needed to match exactly, and the holes for tying them together needed to be lined up. In traditional woodworking, I would have used a pattern flush-trim bit on a router, and trimmed the wood around the perimeter of a master template made from acrylic or MDF (medium-density fiberboard). But since I had recently acquired a CNC carving machine (Inventables X-Carve), I decided to create a digital template instead.

Luckily, Harrison gives dimensions for the slats in his sketch. Using a vector drawing program (Adobe Illustrator), I made a 2D drawing of the slat’s outline and two holes.

After a couple of test cuts, the CNC “computer numerical control” cutting went surprisingly smoothly. I crosscut each segment of the mahogany board to length, clamped it down to the machining bed, and the machine did the rest. I was able to produce six identical slats with relative speed and ease.

For most of my wood projects, especially pieces that are handled often, I prefer to sand down to 400-grit. It is only slightly more time-consuming, and I feel that the result is well worth it. Usually I don’t use stain, but in this case I wanted a rich, lustrous dark finish similar to the traditional Korean examples I had seen. I went with my favorite Java gel stain from General Finishes. Applied properly, it beautifully expresses the woodgrain, and adds a rich transparent color. Finally, I finished the slats with clear satin lacquer. This is the origin of the now world-famous phrase “put some lacquer on your clacker.”

I love learning to tie a new knot. There’s a unique satisfaction that comes from the first time you get it right. Come to think of it, the feeling is very similar to the first time one successfully pulls off a new sleight-of-hand move or drum rudiment. Luckily for me, there is a veritable army of 11-year-olds on YouTube who have mastered the art of paracord tying. I cannot stress what a valuable resource YouTube is for makers of any stripe. It is a wondrous and powerful tool for self-teaching. Although the decorative knots I used to make my pak are non-traditional, I think they still look attractive and appropriate for the application. Of course, I chose a “TCP Green” paracord. The two main knots used are the lanyard knot and cobra weave. Felt washers were used in between each slat as spacers.

That was about it for this one. I was, and still am, pretty happy with the end product. It sounds great– a loud, clear “C-C-C-C-CLACK!” If you don’t have access to mahogany, maple or ash would be a good substitute.

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Intern Spotlight: Cameron Leach

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, we have started an Intern Spotlight series. Our interns do amazing work, and we want to thank them for their incredible talent and tireless dedication. Next in the series is Cameron Leach, for whom major congratulations are in order: Cameron just won the Percussive Arts Society Solo Artist Competition! He documented his preparation for the PASIC competition with a series of Facebook videos; check them out for helpful hints and insight about competition prep. Congratulations, Cameron!

 

Cameron+Leach+BW+Headshot

Where are you from?

Hilliard, OH.

What is one thing about yourself that you’d want everyone to know?

I listen to Drake every morning to get me hyped up for the day. I’m sorry.

Give us a link to something about you.

cleachmusic.com – Website
@cleachmusic – Instagram
cleachmusic – Facebook
cameronleach – Youtube

What are you up to these days?

Right now I’m finishing my master’s degree at the Eastman School of Music. I’ll graduate in May 2018, then I’m moving back to Ohio to freelance and save money for large instrument purchases before moving elsewhere.

I’ve been really exploring what it means to self-promote, produce online content, and dig into the entrepreneurial side of the music business, and I’m looking forward to putting these skills to work once I get done with school.

When did you intern with TCP?

Summer 2017. I spent about 3.5 weeks with the group during their summer residency in South Bend, Indiana.

How did you connect with TCP?

Through the Arts Leadership Program at the Eastman School of Music. I also played JLA’s Inuksuit with them in Mishawaka, Indiana, during the summer of 2015, so the group was definitely on my radar for a long time. On top of that, my teacher and friend Ryan Kilgore had great (and funny) things to say about the guys from his time with some of them at Northwestern.

Did you gain anything from the internship that you’d like to share?

The internship really showed me what it means to run a successful chamber ensemble, in terms of both day-to-day tasks and long-term planning. I was astounded by the efficiency within the group, especially with how they delegated duties and roles to fit each member’s strengths. On top of that, the way they balanced individual practice, group rehearsals, and administrative work-time was really impressive.

What else did you do while interning with TCP besides work with the group?

Throughout my internship and the summer as a whole, I was busy constructing my website, press kit, Facebook artist page, business cards, etc., with Ali Prater, an incredible London-based designer. She brought to life my vision for a personal brand in terms of logo, feel, and aesthetic, and I couldn’t be more grateful. The time I spent with TCP was at the very end of this process (just before the launch), and they provided invaluable feedback and final revisions that helped shape the end result. The specific feedback I received were really parts of larger lessons that can be applied across the broad spectrum of the music business, so I really feel that it was a formative, albeit short, 24 days.

Did you leave a legacy or mark on the organization that you’re particularly proud of?

Hmm. I wish I had something a bit more profound, but unboxing drums and changing lots of drumheads counts, right?

Cameron Leave a mark 1     Cameron Leave a mark 2

Favorite memory from the internship?

“Hey Cameron, can you go pick up scuba tanks in Ann Arbor?”
“Hey Cameron, can you drive to Chicago right now?”

Kidding!

My favorite memory was when the guys took me out to the Crooked Ewe for my birthday!

A GIF or YouTube link that sums up your experience with TCP?

 

If you were a cartoon character, who would you be?

Timmy Turner from The Fairly Oddparents.

Funny / embarrassing story?

Singing karaoke with the gang in South Bend. (Rob had a good time, too.)

Rob had a good time, too.

 

As you can see, an internship with Third Coast Percussion is a great learning opportunity and a fun adventure. If you’re interesting in learning more about an internship with Third Coast, please contact Sean Connors at [email protected]. Keep checking back for more stories in our next Intern Spotlight, featuring Casey Collins!

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