Press Materials


“They play as if they’re a single, eight-armed organism”
-NPR Music

“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

Ten classical events to warm a Chicago winter


January 3, 2014
by John Von Rhein

This is the winter of our content. “Our,” as in Chicago classical music lovers. “Content,” as in pleasure unbounded. The coming three months promise a rich array of performances that should appeal to just about every listener taste, whether the music is Baroque or contemporary, or whether the genre is chamber, symphonic or opera. Here are 10 major events taking place between now and the end of March you will want to circle on your calendar:

Third Coast Percussion: One of the hottest new music groups around just keeps getting hotter. The centerpiece of a program of percussion works that marry the sounds of East and West will be former CSO resident composer Augusta Read Thomas’ “Resounding Earth,” for 125 bells, bowls and gongs from around the world, in its Chicago premiere. Feb. 21 at Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago, 915 E. 60th St.; $35, $5 students, at 773-702-2787 and

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Best of 2013: Top 10 Classical and New Music Albums of the Year




December 18, 2013
by Doyle Armbrust

Third Coast Percussion Resounding Earth (New Focus Recordings)
The decay of a bell ring can be mapped linearly, but the resonance of struck metal contains in it an element of eternity, floating away rather than being extinguished. Augusta Read Thomas’s new four-movement commission for Third Coast Percussion, Resounding Earth, embraces the spiritual connotations of these instruments with titles “Invocation,” “Prayer,” “Mantra” and “Reverie Carillon.” The exuberant trades and dueting of the opening “Invocation” lift skyward as though each bell were tethered to a helium balloon. The dynamic range on display throughout the album further magnifies the elysian quality of Thomas’s writing, and Third Coast’s performance is as synchronous as it is dramatically fertile. Toss out those Deepak Chopra guided meditations cassettes and find a true state of bliss (with 100% less synthesizer) in Resounding Earth.

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Our Favorite Music of 2013



December 26, 2013
by Peter Margasak

Classical music, with young artists taking matters into their own hands and forming bold, forward-looking groups rather than waiting for that elusive symphony job. Northwestern, DePaul, and the University of Chicago have been producing a dazzling number of fearless composers and hungry, open-minded musicians. The following five albums, presented in no particular order, feature some of the greatest talents.

Third Coast Percussion, Resounding Earth (New Focus)

Chicago’s premier percussion ensemble tackles a commission from Augusta Read Thomas, formerly a Mead Composer-­in-Residence with the CSO and now a professor at the University of Chicago. The four-movement Resounding Earth is built around the ringing, tinkling, and clanging of bells (though lots of other metal percussion turns up as well), with tones both terse and sustained. The CD comes with a DVD shot while the group recorded the work, which gives you a look at the meticulous integration required by the score—all four Third Coast members stay feverishly busy weaving together the music’s layers of rude impacts and serene resonances.

Read the original article here.

Classical Playlist: Martha Argerich, Third Coast Percussion, Garrick Ohlsson and More

November 27, 2013

by The New York Times

THOMAS: ‘Resounding Earth’
Third Coast Percussion
(New Focus Records)
In “Resounding Earth,” composed by Augusta Read Thomas for the Chicago quartet Third Coast Percussion, a constellation of singing, ringing and chiming bells, gongs and other metallic implements, representing cultures and traditions from around the world, serves to honor nine venerated 20th-century composers. Bliss out to Ms. Thomas’s transfixing shimmer on the immaculately recorded CD, and marvel at the ensemble performing the intricate work on the accompanying DVD. (Steve Smith)

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ND’s Got the Beat


September 12, 2013
by Jack Walton

In June, Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion began a five-year term as artists-in-residence at the University of Notre Dame. The ensemble is already giving its new community an idea of the staggering amount of musical feats that a percussion group can achieve.

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Two Concerts, Two Audiences

January 18, 2013
by Rob Deemer

It’s always a good thing to have a trip correspond with some good new music concerts, and my week-long adventure to northern Illinois this past week allowed me to take Ellen McSweeney’s advice and attend two concerts in Chicago. Both events–the Chicago Composers Orchestra concert at the Garfield Park Conservatory and the Third Coast Percussion concert at the University of Chicago–were very successful and demonstrated why new music concerts can be diverse in content, in venue, and in audience to great effect.

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Top 20 Classical Albums of 2012

December 30, 2012
by Seth Colter Walls

Our understanding of John Cage’s value — he was more than just “4’33” — would be much poorer if not for Mode Records, which has invested in producing important albums of the composer’s works for decades. Their latest project is a comprehensive survey of Cage’s percussion pieces. The second effort in this series features Third Coast Percussion, and their virtuoso playing is as crisp as you’d expect. But more importantly, they’ve taken care to engineer these pieces properly in a studio: The grinding prepared-piano tones of “First Construction (in Metal)” have never sounded so fine.

Read the original article here.

Third Coast Percussion Goes Metal

January 10, 2013
by Graham Meyer

Percussion is different from other instruments. Percussionists learn to play not one instrument, but dozens, each with its own techniques. The sound quality of some percussion instruments, such as a snare drum or a cymbal, jumps out of the musical texture even when everyone else plays fortissimo. Some percussion instruments don’t produce a musical pitch.

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The best (and worst) opera and classical music of 2012

December 21, 2012
by Steve Smith

The best albums

John Cage, The Works for Percussion 2 (Mode)

The Cage centenary brought no few worthy albums, but this commanding overview by Chicago’s Third Coast Percussion swept the field with technical precision, palpable groove and outstanding sound.

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Best Opera & Classical Albums of 2012

December 20, 2012
by Doyle

Third Coast Percussion
John Cage: The Works for Percussion 2 (Mode)
Amid the onslaught of Cage centennial albums this year, this intimate portrait by the superlative Chicago quartet clamors its way to the top with brake drums and elephant bells.

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