Press Materials

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“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



by Rob Barnett

… along comes this disc in Reich’s eightieth birthday year with four works scattered across four decades. It’s an encouraging chance to catch up. All the usual attractions are on show. The most succulent of these is Mallet Quartet proving that minimalism can offer juice as well as a mind-tingling rhythmic lucidity. There are surprises too – even disappointments although not in the execution by these six players – including two pianists in Sextet. The gloomy metallic thudding bass-emphatic realms of the central three movements of Sextet are not where I would start anyone new to Reich; for that the large-scale works Desert Music and Variations should not be missed. The outer movements (of five) of Sextet offer contrasting recompense with some ruthless piano figuration alongside the marimbas and vibraphones. Nagoya Marimbas returns us to that open oxygen-rich ringing percussion sound. Here – and in the drier five-movement Music for Pieces of Wood – we are again captivated by Third Coast Percussion’s attentive ears, wrists and musculature. That essential dynamic tickle, thud and rhythmic absorption is there and the audio-engineers deserve as much praise as the four musicians of Third Coast Percussion and the two pianists in Sextet: David Friend and Oliver Hagen.

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Third Coast expands percussion’s meaning




January 28, 2016

by Jackie Walton

The four musicians who comprise Third Coast Percussion have repeatedly taken on fearsome repertoire over the years. The ensemble specializes in material that’s out of reach to most percussion groups.

The quartet will tackle yet another series of demanding challenges in a pairing of works by Donnacha Dennehy and Steve Reich on Saturday at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, where the quartet has been the ensemble-in-residence since 2013.

Both compositions require the performers to handle a heavy workload, sometimes involving highly unusual extended techniques.

The concert begins with the world premiere of Dennehy’s “Surface Tension.” It was co-commissioned by DeBartolo and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Third Coast will repeat this program at the Met in New York City in February.

“Surface Tension” features a phenomenon rarely heard in percussion music: melodies.

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The Best Things To Do In Chicago This Month: Classical, New Music, Opera





January 28, 2016

By Graham Meyer and Matt Pollock


2/5 AT 7:30 Third Coast Percussion bangs out a crowd-pleasing program that includes Thierry De Mey’s rhythmic Table Music, the Chicago premiere of Donnacha Dennehy’s drumming piece Surface Tension, and the minimalist master Steve Reich’s Sextet. $5–$25. International House, U. of C., 1414 E. 59th.

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REICH: Works for Percussion




January 27, 2016

by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim

By the time the members of this impressive percussion ensemble joined forces in 2005, the composer Steve Reich was already a grandfather figure in the American new-music scene. So as the percussionist Robert Dillon writes in the liner notes to this beguiling CD, his group’s responsibility is ‘not to document this repertoire — it no longer needs basic preservation — but rather, to put our own stamp on it.’ It’s above all a sensual approach to tone color that comes through in Third Coast’s take on classic works, whether it’s the relaxed warmth of the Mallet Quartet or the glistening brightness of ‘Music for Pieces of Wood.’ Joined by the pianists David Friend and Oliver Hagen, the ensemble also finds full-blooded drama in the Sextet, which contains within its five movements a world of expressions from impish charm to almost oppressive darkness.

Read the original article here.

Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche’s extravagant ‘Wild Sound’ a spectacle at the MCA

May 22, 2015

by Alan G. Artner

As each ticket was torn to give entry to Thursday night’s concert at the Museum of Contemporary Art, each bearer received what looked like miniature chopsticks joined at a serrated center.

These sticks would be called into play midway through Glenn Kotche’s “Wild Sound,” an extravagant, 43-minute long audio-video piece performed by the four virtuosi of Third Coast Percussion.

The immediately engaging piece developed from a collaboration not only between composer, performers and the video artist Xuan but also stage director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, lighting designer Sarah Prince and audio engineer Dan Nichols. What resulted was a choreographed spectacle that twice enlisted brief audience participation to refresh and illustrate John Cage’s principle of all sound being ultimately music.

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Wilco Drummer Glenn Kotche Brings “Wild Sounds” to Classical Audiences

May 19, 2015

“Can this happen? Can we do it? Can the musicians actually construct instruments onstage and make music that I actually want to listen to? Can we transcend gimmick and theatricality and have actual musical merit? How is this going to happen?”

These are the questions that Glenn Kotche began to ask when devising his latest work, Wild Sounds, with Third Coast Percussion and the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. The work comes to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago for two performances on May 21 and 22, 2015.

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Review: Augusta Read Thomas’s Spiritual ‘Resounding Earth’

 March 6, 2015

by Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim

Budding composers are well advised to write for standard instrumentation: The simpler and more common the forces required, the higher the chances of a piece getting performances beyond the premiere.

But Augusta Read Thomas, the subject of a Composer Portraits series at Columbia University’s Miller Theater on Thursday and the recipient of numerous prizes and orchestral commissions, is no longer a novice. In fact, according to statistics released last year by ASCAP, a performing rights organization, she topped their list of most frequently performed living composers in 2013-14.

She has permission, then, if any were needed, to think big. “Resounding Earth,” a 30-minute work for percussion quartet that received its New York premiere at Miller this week by the commandingly elegant Third Coast Percussion, calls for a battery of some 300 metal instruments, including tiny cymbal-like crotales, giant gongs, Burmese temple bells and metal coils. The work was developed in close collaboration with the Third Coast players and has been released on a beautiful CD by New Focus Recording.

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American Music Festival wraps up with a bang from percussion ensemble



March 23, 2015

by Stephen Brooks

The National Gallery of Art’s two-week American Music Festival — one of the most adventurous and exciting celebrations of contemporary music here in years — closed Sunday with a performance by the Third Coast Percussion ensemble that proved just how vital and fertile new American music really is. Playing on items as varied as Tibetan singing bowls and amplified Magic Markers, the ensemble transformed the museum’s West Garden Court into a vast, resonating sonic playground, presenting four recent works that ran from mischievous humor to bluesy sensuality — delivered with virtuosity and deft, precisely timed wit.

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Percussionists close Stave Sessions



March 23, 2015

by Matthew Guerrieri

Third Coast Percussion wasn’t originally scheduled to close out Celebrity Series of Boston’s Stave Sessions, but that they ended up doing so was fitting. The Sessions — six nights of concerts in Berklee’s glass-enclosed, club-like dining hall — marked a somewhat radical departure for Celebrity Series, venturing into the brave new(-ish) world of classical music in nontraditional venues with a sustained dose of contemporary music. Percussion music, for its part, is inherently radical, stripping music down to essentials: time, gesture, attack. The Chicago-based quartet — David Skidmore, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and Sean Connors, making their Boston debut — emphasized that quality with a concert of further distillations.

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Third Coast Percussion taps, teases and tickles in Stave Sessions finale




March 22, 2015

by David Wright

Stave Sessions, the week-long mini-festival of cutting-edge musical presentations by Celebrity Series of Boston, ended with a bang Saturday night.  And a whisper, and a murmur, and a caress.

Anyone who thought an evening of music entirely for percussion instruments would sound like a pots-and-pans rack falling off the wall was in for a surprise, as the Chicago-based quartet of players called Third Coast Percussion led listeners through their mysterious, funny, endlessly inventive and often exhilarating musical specialty.

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