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TCP welcomes Liz Pesnel

Third Coast Percussion is excited to announce our first staff hire! Liz Pesnel is joining TCP part-time starting this month. She will be acting as an office manager and additional support for TCP’s production and marketing efforts. Since TCP’s inception, the artists have comprised the entire administrative staff, and we’re thrilled to be adding a new member to our crew!

photo credit: Booth Photographics

Here’s a little more about Liz:

Liz Pesnel was raised in a musical family in Albany, NY.  She grew up playing upright bass, and at a young age, had the opportunity to study with members of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and perform at Carnegie Hall.  She went on to receive a Bachelor of Music from Syracuse University, majoring in Music Business and Music History, with a focus on Upright Bass and Harp Performance.

Since 2006, Liz has held a number of key positions at The Windish Agency. Alongside radio promotions expert Robbie Lloyed (Interscope Records), she launched the agency’s Tour Marketing Department. As the Tour Marketing Manager, she oversaw marketing strategies for tours of various artists like The xx, Pink Martini, Lorde, and First Aid Kit.  Prior to the launch of the Tour Marketing Department, Liz worked as an agent alongside founder, Tom Windish, booking acts such as Foster The People, Lykke Li, and M83.  Previously, she has held positions at Chicago’s Ravinia Festival, The Lincoln Center Festival and Blue Note Records.­

In addition to her new position with Third Coast Percussion, Liz teaches at Columbia College Chicago and performs in Gussied, a bluegrass wedding band.

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Happy 2015!

We had an incredible 2014!  The members of TCP share some personal thoughts about the past year and what they are excited for in 2015 by each answering the following three questions:

1) What is your favorite funny TCP moment from the past year?

2) What is one musical moment that was a highlight for you of 2014?

3) What are you looking forward to doing with TCP in 2015?

Enjoy and we hope to see you in 2015!

DAVID:

1) What is your favorite funny TCP moment from the past year?

Definitely when we played Credo in US at U Chicago and the State Farm commercial came on. It’s sort of an inside joke, but TCP bears a special enmity towards State Farm  thanks to a nefarious incident involving Sean, a Honda CRV, State Farm, and the South Bend Police Department.

 

2) What is one musical moment that was a highlight for you of 2014?

Premiering Glenn Kotche’s Wild Sound felt like a big artistic achievement for us. This was by far the biggest project we’ve tackled – TCP collaborated with stage director Leslie Danzig, professor Jay Brockman and a team of engineers at the University of Notre Dame who designed instruments for us, lighting designer Sarah Prince, video artist Xuan, and audio and video engineers Dan Nichols and Pat Burns to create a multimedia performance project that we’re incredibly proud of. My wife also thought it was cool that I did a drumset duo with a rock drummer 🙂 

 

 

3) What are you looking forward to doing with TCP in 2015?

Two new pieces by Augusta Read Thomas, one of our favorite composers and a truly inspirational artist and collaborative partner. The first piece, Selene, is for TCP and string quartet, and we’re premiering the piece with the JACK Quartet at Miller Theatre in NYC in March. The second new piece hasn’t been announced yet, but will be a part of a REALLY AWESOME performance in Chicago, this summer!

PETER:

1) What is your favorite funny TCP moment from the past year?

Accidentally walking off with another percussionists gear from the same show at Le Poisson Rouge, dealing with that, then realizing that someone else walked off with our audio interface adapter, then dealing with that a couple of hours before a concert.   It becomes more humorous now that we are further away from it.  I’m not sure how funny it was at the time, but it was definitely memorable.

2) What is one musical moment that was a highlight for you of 2014?

seeing the WAVES project realized, first at Notre Dame but then being able to take it on the road to Colorado.

 

 

3) What are you looking forward to doing with TCP in 2015?

I’m really excited to be performing in Seattle with Third Coast for the first time.  It’s a great City with an amazing arts scene, and I’m really thrilled to bring our program to Town Hall there.

ROB:

1) What is your favorite funny TCP moment from the past year?

The Naperville High School Percussion Ensemble parodying our press photo as part of a promotion for their Drumshow 2014.

 

 

2) What is one musical moment that was a highlight for you of 2014?

Playing at PASIC (Percussive Arts Society International Convention).  It was a long time since we played there and it was a great opportunity to catch up our percussion community on what we’ve been doing.  Just felt great!

3) What are you looking forward to doing with TCP in 2015?

I’m immensely looking forward to our “In C” Project to celebrate Terry Riley’s 80th birthday.  It’ll be a great to bring together musicians of different ages and backgrounds to perform together in our hometown.

SEAN:

1) What is your favorite funny TCP moment from the past year?

Spending the night at Heathrow Airport with Dave…not so funny then, but definitely a great story.  Except now I seem to permanently be on their spam e-mail list… 

2) What is one musical moment that was a highlight for you of 2014?

Performing with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago was a real artistic highlight for me. TCP performed Reich’s Drumming, part 1 with the modern dance company, and Hubbard Street’s extraordinary level of performance quality and dedication to their art form was a huge inspiration.

 

 

3) What are you looking forward to doing with TCP in 2015?

I can’t wait to see what new works grow out of our collaboration with composers involved in our Emerging Composers Partnership.  Can’t wait to see what Jonathan, Danny, and Katie come up with in our studio!

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Two New Composers Selected for Emerging Composers Partnership

Third Coast Percussion is thrilled to announce that we’ve selected two new composers to collaborate with as a part of our Emerging Composers Partnership. TCP will premiere new works from Katherine Young and Danny Clay during the 2015-16 season, developed through a series of workshop sessions between now and the premiere. Katherine and Danny were selected from a pool of 54 composers who submitted applications to the program this year. We’re very excited to work with these brilliant young musicians, and are grateful to have gained a greater familiarity with all of the other great composers who applied to the program!

TCP’s Emerging Composers Partnership involves no application fees for interested composers; instead, the program is funded by TCP fans like you! Click here to make a tax-deductible gift to Third Coast Percussion to support the Emerging Composers Partnership and other artistic and educational programming.

Katherine Young

Composer, bassoonist and improviser Katherine Young creates acoustic and electro-acoustic music that has been described by the New York Times as “raw, wailing, coloristic,” and New Music Box has noted “her visceral approach to sound…her attentiveness to the smallest details of timbre; her adventurousness in using instruments in unexpected ways.” Ensemble Dal Niente, Talea Ensemble, Flux Quartet, String Orchestra of Brooklyn, Spektral Quartet, Fonema Consort, Till by Turning, and others have performed her compositions. Her debut solo album garnered praise in The Wire (“Bassoon colossus”) and Downbeat (“seriously bold leaps for the bassoon”). About her 2012 release with her quartet Pretty Monsters, All About Jazz stated: “a sonically audacious record documenting the development of a bold young artist whose arresting improvisations are as remarkable as her engaging compositions.” Recently, her duo with violist Amy Cimini released its third record, which was recorded in residency at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s EMPAC, on Carrier Records, and her multi-movement installation-performance piece Diligence Is to Magic as Progress Is to Flight, written in close collaboration with violinist Austin Wulliman, came out on Parlour Tapes+.

http://katherineyoung.info/

 

Danny Clay

Danny Clay is a composer and general noise-maker from Ohio, currently based in San Francisco. His work draws upon elements of unusual musical traditions, archival media, found objects, toy instruments, digital errata, local history, graphic notation, children’s theater, and the everything-in-between. Recent collaborators include Kronos Quartet, Sarah Cahill, Areon Flutes, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Thingamajigs, Phyllis Chen, Anne Rainwater, Mobius Trio, the Living Earth Show, Friction Quartet, and many other groups in the Bay Area and beyond. As a teaching artist specializing in composition with elementary schoolers, he has worked with the San Francisco Opera, 826 Valencia, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Composers and Schools in Concert (CSIC), and currently curates Project Object, a net-label of experimental music by kids. His work has been released on Unknown Tone Records, Eilean Records, Rural Colours, and Heat Death Records, among others.

http://www.dclaymusic.com/

 

 

 

 

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Lyrical Geometry

Last month, Third Coast Percussion hosted an event unlike any other in our ensemble’s history. “Lyrical Geometry” was a collaboration between TCP, the extraordinary artists at Luftwerk, architectural historian and scholar Sidney K. Robinson, and (posthumously) architect and composer Bruce Goff.


(All of the beautiful photos in this post were taken by Peter Tsai).

The event took place at Sid’s home, the “Ford House” in Aurora, IL, designed by Bruce Goff in 1949.

Besides being a brilliant architect of boundless creativity, Goff also composed a series of pieces for player piano in the early 1930s (nearly two decades before Conlon Nancarrow began composing for the instrument).

TCP transcribed and arranged a series of these player piano pieces for our ensemble. We performed these arrangements in sync with projections of the scrolling piano rolls (provided by Luftwerk) on the ceiling of the Ford House.

Luftwerk also created some other stunning images which were projected during the performance and throughout the evening.

We also set up an “instrument petting zoo,” which included bells from Resounding Earth by Augusta Read Thomas (commissioned for TCP)…

…as well as the “Brockmanophone,” an instrument created in collaboration with the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame for Glenn Kotche’s new work, Wild Sound (commissioned for TCP).

It was an incredible evening of music, architecture, and stunning visual art. Enjoy the photos, and check out dev.thirdcoastpercussion.com.10.1.10.19.xip.io:8888/ to keep up to date on our touring schedule and other crazy projects.

 

 

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Wild Sound Recipes

*The Following are excerpts from our new cookbook  “But Cooler….. Quick Instruments for the Active Eater”, compiled and edited by Third Coast Percussion and Glenn Kotche

IMG_1218.JPG

Bird Caller
Prep Time: 40 seconds
Cook Time: 1 minute

Ingredients:
– 1 plastic bottle
–  5ft. length of twine

Directions:
– Convince the Executive Director of a major Performing Arts Center that SOBE beverages are good.   Use enthusiastic consumption as a means to stockpile empty plastic bottles, prized for their extraordinarily thick plastic exterior that seems to produce a better sound.
– Convince presenters and stage director that using a box cutter in a performance is, in fact, a really good idea.
– Cut a long, rectangular piece out of the bottle, vertically from the top to base, ca. 3 inches long and 1/2 inches wide.
– fasten one end of the twine to the neck of the bottle
– swing the bottle from the other end of the twine in a circular motion until a) the desired sound is achieved or b) the bottle flies off and strikes an audience member

*************************************************************

Super Ball Mallet
Prep Time: 30 seconds
Cook Time: as long as it takes Rob to build his sistrum

Ingredients:
–  1 wire coat hanger
– 1 super ball

Directions:
– Cut a single, straight piece off of the base of the coat hanger, roughly 5 inches in length
– Cut super ball in half, in the direction of the seam.
– thread one end of the coat hanger length through the center of the halved super ball, the rounded side facing outwards
– holding the wire shaft, drag the super ball across a piece of plywood, preferably one with an array of 6 contact microphones on the other side.

********************************************************************

Photo credit: Kirk Richard Smith

 

 

Low Carb Violin
Prep Time: 1 min. 30 seconds
Cook Time: 4 min.

Ingredients:
– 1 piece of 1″x4″ poplar wood, 2 ft. in length
– 3 ft. length of stainless steel beading wire, .024″ in diameter
– 2 C Clamps
– 1 package of wooden tongue depressors
– paper pieces to taste

Directions
– lay length of beading wire on top of of wood, lengthwise
– using C clamps, secure the wire to opposite ends of the wood, making sure the wire is taught
– slip 1 tongue depressor between the wood and the wire, approximately 3 1/2 inches from one edge of the wooden length
– gradually stack more tongue depressors on top of each other between the wire and the wood, building a bridge for the violin, until the fundamental notes of the plucked string reaches a concert B-flat.  Fine tune with thinner pieces of paper as necessary.
– Explain to highly qualified audio engineer that his really expensive microphones are “so 2013” and that, instead, he should build you a spring clamp with a contact microphone on it.
– secure hand clamp microphone to bridge
– grab bow, assume violin diva position and play

*********************************************************************

Photo credit: Kirk Richard Smith

 

Brockmanophone (Arduino Keyboard)
Prep Time: 3 Months, 12 Days, 8 hours, without pause.
Cook Time: 7 min.

Ingredients
– 1 piece of plexiglass, 2 ft. x 3 ft.
– 1 pair of gloves
– A bunch of technology stuff
– 1 Electrical Engineer
– 1 Wife and Son of Electrical Engineer
– 6 Summer Interns

Directions
– Enlist professors and students from elite university
– Convince Associate Dean in College of Engineering that “the future is in contemporary art-music for percussion ensemble, that’s where the real money is”
– Ask them to build something cool
– Plug in, play, and enjoy.   Shower everyone with praise for their tireless efforts in making you sound good.

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