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

New Sounds: With Third Coast Percussion


May 25, 2017
by John Shaefer

Members of Chicago-based quartet Third Coast Percussion, Robert Dillon and David Skidmore, present an exclusive preview of a rehearsal recording of major piece for percussion by Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy. It’s a large work for tuned drums, inspired by the traditional frame drum, the bodhran, and based on the overtone series. Players get to bend the pitches and venture into the world of microtonal music. Listen to these tom tom drums with surgical tubes attached for a player to exhale and alter the pitch of the drum by expanding the column of air inside in Dennehy’s piece, “Surface Tension.”

Also, hear Reich’s “Nagoya Marimbas” along with “Mallet Quartet,” from their brand new recording of music by Steve Reich. A fun aside: Third Coast Percussion has created a mobile app for users to interact with Steve Reich. Look for the app “Third Coast Percussion, the music of Steve Reich,” coming soon to an iPhone near you.

Plus, listen to a work from drummer/composer David T. Little for Third Coast Percussion, “Haunt of Last Nightfall,” which looks to a tragic 1981 massacre at El Mozote, El Salvador.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

One With Nature: Musical piece encompasses Artosphere values


May 19, 2017
by Jocelyn Murphy

What do you get when you bring together just shy of 100 musicians, spread them around an outdoor venue and give them a piece of music that celebrates and blends with the nature around it?

“Inuksuit” swells to a very chaotic, very climactic middle section, and then recedes back into the soundscape of the garden, shares Sean Connors with Third Coast Percussion. The Grammy-winning percussion ensemble will host the striking musical piece at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks tonight. “And one of the cool things that happens, at least in every performance I’ve been a part of, is the piece ends with some flutes and glockenspiels emulating bird calls, and we’ve always experienced birds singing back to us, so the last sound you hear are living, real wild birds.”

Click here to read the original article.

Interconnectedness: An Interview with Third Coast Percussion


April 25, 2017
by Sumner Coy
Interview with Katy Henriksen

Third Coast Percussion’s expansive take on Steve Reich earned them a Grammy this year, and the group has forged a reputation for opening up to the audience in novel ways–such as the use of smartphone apps to offer intimate participation and awareness of the process.

“I think most people are curious, creative people, and if you appeal to people’s curious nature, that’s a point of connection,” explains Third Coast member Sean Connors to Of Note’s Katy Henriksen.

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Preview: Music of Augusta Read Thomas to be Celebrated This Saturday Night


April 25, 2017
by Louis Harris

Coming on the heels of Augusta Read Thomas’ recent appointment to head the new Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition, the Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago will be hosting a concert of her music this Saturday evening. This event brings together the Spektral Quartet and Third Coast Percussion, two Chicago quartets who were nominated for this year’s Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, a prize that Third Coast won for its recording of music by Steve Reich.

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Classical Classroom: Third Coast Percussion Plays At 1.21 Gigawatts


April 17, 2017
Interview by Dacia Clay

Sean Connors of Grammy-winning Third Coast Percussion talks about what being in a percussion-only ensemble is all about.

Wait. A percussion-only ensemble? Is that, like, a fancy drum circle? Sean Connors of the Grammy-winning percussion quartet Third Coast Percussion explains that this is not too far off. But the operative word is “fancy.” As Connors describes it, percussion ensembles are the mad scientists of the music world. Any object in the world is a potential instrument. And when they’ve run out of objects, they invent more. (Fun fact: Third Coast sometimes works with actual scientists at the University of Notre Dame where they are ensemble in residence.) Learn all about the crazy world of percussion ensembles and hear some amazing music in this show.

Click here to listen to the full interview.

LUCERNE FESTIVAL ALUMNI Worldwide: Third Coast Percussion from Chicago


April 12, 2017
Interview by Jeffrey Young

Third Coast Percussion is a percussion quartet based in Chicago that tours nationally and internationally, commissions new works, and just won a GRAMMY for their album Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich. Third Coast members David Skidmore (participant in the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY in 2005-08) and Robert Dillon (2003-05, 2007-08) spoke to Jeffrey Young about winning a GRAMMY, their time in Lucerne, and more.

Jeffrey Young: How did your time in Lucerne impact you and your young ensemble?
David Skidmore: The experiences I had at Lucerne were hugely important to my own musicianship and my love of new music, enabling me to work with world class composers and perform new music at a really high level. I went to Lucerne for the first time in 2005 and that was exactly the year Third Coast started. I think the overlap was important and fortuitous because of how much I learned about new music at Lucerne.
Robert Dillon: It introduced us to some great friends who are still important collaborators for Third Coast. In a couple of months we’re going to have two fellow alumni who live in Europe performing with us in Chicago, Johannes Fischer and Domenico Melchiorre. Then there are great musicians in America we met at Lucerne who have been collaborators over the years like Ross Karre and Nick Terry. You can see the influence of Lucerne on Third Coast’s programming as well. We have a very strong rooting in American composers like Steve Reich, John Cage, and many others, but we also got very excited about some of the great European modernist composers we discovered or performed in Lucerne like Gérard Grisey and György Ligeti. In a very real sense, I think our experiences in Lucerne helped to broaden our aesthetic interests.

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Grammy winner Third Coast Percussion to play free show at USC


March 22, 2017
by Erin Shaw

The music of Third Coast Percussion is so much more than drums. In a show, the quartet might play four marimbas simultaneously one minute and tap Japanese singing bowls the next.

Anything can be an instrument, and TCP’s dedication to exploring new sounds make the group a fitting bookend to the University of South Carolina’s Southern Exposure New Music Series.

The Chicago-based group is fresh off a Grammy win for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, the first percussion ensemble to win a Grammy in that category.

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Interview: Third Coast Percussion Headlines 2017 {Re}HAPPENING

March 2017
by Ali McGheeJust last month, the four members of Chicago’s Third Coast Percussion—David Skidmore, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and Sean Connors—won the first Grammy ever awarded in the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance to a percussion ensemble. Awarded for their album Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich (2016, Cedille Records), the Grammy is groundbreaking for the world of avant-garde music, but it’s also just one among many accomplishments Third Coast can now list. This weekend, Third Coast will add another flower to their cap: they’ll be playing at Saturday’s {Re}HAPPENING, which takes places at Lake Eden in Black Mountain from 3-10 p.m.

The {Re}HAPPENING will be a kind of homecoming for the group, which continues to pull inspiration from people associated with the college, particularly John Cage and Lou Harrison. They trace this legacy of influence through Steve Reich and on to themselves. Their Grammy-winning album, released the year of Reich’s eightieth birthday, is a celebration of a lineage they continue to propel forward.

REVIEW: Music for 18 Musicians


March 19, 2017
by Karalyn Schubring

Last night, Hill Auditorium throbbed with the pulsing patterns, reverberating rhythms, and crunchy chords of the one and only Steve Reich. The seats were packed with fans (and critics) of the Pulitzer-Prize winning composer for the UMS premieres of Reich’s music by Chicago-based ensembles Eighth Blackbird and Third Coast Percussion, in celebration of the composer’s eightieth birth year.

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