Press Materials

Click here to download our current Press Kit »


“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

Three Takes on a Minimalist Pioneer


by Allan Kozinn
July 4, 2016

Not so long ago, new recordings of Steve Reich’s music, while intended, on one level, for the enjoyment of the composer’s fans, were just as importantly in the business of documenting Mr. Reich’s evolving style. Most of the performances were by his own ensemble, Steve Reich and Musicians, or by the musicians who commissioned the works, usually with Mr. Reich supervising. It was not certain that these works would ever have second recordings, and at the time that didn’t matter: When you have music that is essentially rhythm-driven, with motoric surfaces and a modernistic rejection of emotionalism in favor of precision, what more do you need than a recording made under the composer’s imprimatur?

As it turns out, Mr. Reich’s work is as interpretable as the Beethoven string quartets or the Boulez piano sonatas. Alarm Will Sound made that point with its debut recording, a 2002 pairing of “Tehillim” with a revised version of “The Desert Music” that offered fresh views of works listeners thought they knew thoroughly. Since then, there has been a flood of Reich recordings made without the composer looking on. And with his 80th birthday approaching (on Oct. 3), three new discs join the queue: the London Symphony Orchestra Percussion Ensemble’s “Sextet | Clapping Music | Music for Pieces of Wood” (LSO Live); Third Coast Percussion’s “Steve Reich” (Çedille) and Ensemble Signal’s “Double Sextet/Radio Rewrite” (Harmonia Mundi).


In a 1977 live recording from the Kitchen (Orange Mountain), Mr. Reich and company give a speedy, almost breathless account. Exciting as it is, there is something to be said for slowing the pace, as both the LSO percussionists and Third Coast Percussion do. The LSO version is oddly muted, though it has a measure of dynamic nuance, particularly in the work’s middle section, that Mr. Reich’s reading lacks. But it pales in comparison to the Third Coast performance.

For starters, Third Coast uses slats of purpleheart wood, which produce a rounder, more resonant tone than the claves Mr. Reich prescribes, and its performance, while rhythmically strict, has moments of dynamic suppleness that make the piece breathe in ways its competitors’ versions do not.

A similar difference in clarity defines the Third Coast and LSO readings of the magnificently contrapuntal Sextet (1984). Both take a less sharp-edged, aggressive view than Mr. Reich and his own ensemble did on their 1987 recording (Nonesuch), and where the balances on Mr. Reich’s discs sound carefully manipulated at the mixing board, the Third Coast and LSO recordings sound natural and organic.

But the LSO recording has a gauzy quality that makes the work’s keyboard and percussion timbres (sometimes bowed) sound seamlessly blended. The remarkable clarity of the Third Coast version, which gives every instrument a distinct profile, is more effective. Third Coast’s program is more generous as well: The disc also includes vital, bright-hued accounts of “Nagoya Marimbas” (1994) and the richly chromatic, three-movement “Mallet Quartet” (2009).



Click here to read the original article.

Top 10 Classical Albums


December 23, 2016
by Zoë Madonna


Third Coast Percussion These Chicago-based percussion adventurers ride Reich’s phasing waves with a subtle hint of slink. This is a record so translucent and playful that the phrases seem to leap out of your headphones, and individual blocks of wood melt into a blissful flow.

Click here for original article. 

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.

continue reading »

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.

continue reading »

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.

continue reading »

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.

continue reading »