The Book of Keyboards


For percussionists, who are perpetually balancing logistical challenges with artistic ambitions, the music of Philippe Manoury is a high stakes proposition. The visionary works on this album require an immense variety of resources. Three of these tracks are scored for Sixxen, a set of six instruments which must be built from scratch. The rest of the album is scored for marimbas, a vibraphone, and large, chromatically tuned Thai gongs.

The works on this album are remarkable musical statements – nothing else written before or since sounds quite like this music. Manoury creates unimaginable sound worlds, drawing on his long history of composing electronic music to inspire the sounds of these purely acoustic works. Despite all the challenges of logistics and execution, this music achieves incredible clarity, evocative textures, and intriguing colors.

Our hope is that this album – over 6 years in the making – will bring this unique and brilliant music to more ears, and inspire more percussionists to find opportunities to take on the exhilarating challenge of bringing this music to life.

Buy the new album!

Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich


*2017 GRAMMY Award – Best Chamber Music/ Small Ensemble Performance
Album of the Week – 
Q2 Music, WQXR, New York
Album of the Week – Second Inversion,  KING-FM, Seattle

“Sensational! Sometimes people ask if my music allows interpretation. I can’t think of a better answer than to play them your album.”
-Steve Reich

“Impressively combining creative fearlessness with reverent precision.”
-Helen Wallace, BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★

“Third Coast Percussion get it absolutely right here.”
-Pwyll ap Siôn, Gramophone

“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.”
-Zoë Madonna, The Boston Globe

“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.”…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.”
-Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times

“…their adoration and familiarity with [the music] are palpable in the crisp precision and pulsing energy of their latest performance.”
-Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader

“In these performances there is a buoyancy to the perpetually pulsating rhythms in the Mallet Quartet and (above all) the lengthy Sextet that somehow conveys that joy in movement that seems to be what this music is all about….”
-David Hurwitz,

“Third Coast’s ability to gently manipulate time here translates to a listening experience that is both buoyant and penetrating.”
-Doyle Armbrust, Q2 Music, WQXR, New York

“Third Coast and company succeed in creating a sonically cohesive narrative, each instrument carefully balanced against the rest of the group…the musicians glide through timbral changes with the utmost sensitivity and precision.”
-Maggie Malloy, Second Inversion, KING-FM, Seattle

“With crack modern players who have new wrinkles to contribute, this is a fine survey of Reich’s percussion music…and a fitting tribute in the composer’s 80th-birthday year.”
-James Manheim,

“Here we have a terrific collection of some of [Reich’s] imaginative works…. All are played to perfection by the superb Third Coast Percussion group. Absolutely delightful throughout, and the wide-range engineering captures all of the instruments’ beauty. ”
-Robert Benson, Classical CD Review

“Mind-tingling rhythmic lucidity. ”
-Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

“You can hear in the group’s playing just how easily this music comes to them — the rhythms both loose-limbed and precise, the textures finely worked out but wonderfully natural.”
-Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle

“Their playing is warm, fluid and very human.”
-Jeff Zumfelde, Colorado Public Radio

“This is the greatest percussion disc I have ever heard, both in terms of playing and recording.”
-Graham Rickson,

“The ensemble’s rich resonance, combined with the variety of pitches and shifting dynamics, evokes a kaleidoscopic dithyramb of rare power. ”
-Patrick Rucker, The Washington Post

“The members of Third Coast Percussion play with energy, sensitivity, and warmth; the sound never exhausts. A blast.”
-Robert Levine, Stereophile

Click here to listen to the WNYC New Sounds episode featuring the album

This album features iconic percussion works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steve Reich, whom The Village Voice deemed, “America’s greatest living composer.” Reich’s music has influenced artists ranging from art-pop and rock musicians Brian Eno and David Bowie to composers John Adams and Bang on a Can co-founders Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe.

While most composers now welcome our instruments on the concert stage, only a few have shown audiences how percussion can be absolutely essential. The rhythmic drive, articulated melody, and perpetual cycle of Reich’s music seems to have marimbas and vibraphones in its very DNA, just as John Cage’s music feels unimaginable without drums, tin cans, and an endless variety of noise makers.

Works featured on the album include Mallet Quartet, Sextet, Nagoya Marimbas, and Music for Pieces of Wood.

Buy the Grammy-winning album!

Listen here:


Haunt of Last Nightfall

Best of 2014, Classical – iTunes
Best New Music of 2014 – Q2 Music, WQXR, New York
Best of 2014 – Beats Music

“Colorful and compelling”
-John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

“The music moves from rusticity through violence, despair and outrage in this eloquent account by Chicago’s versatile, resourceful Third Coast Percussion.”
-Steve Smith, The New York Times

“Really terrific record”
-John Schaefer, WNYC, New Sounds Live

“Nuanced, probing and profound”
-Anne Midgette, Washington Post

“Intimate, eerie, distressingly violent…the music never feels crowded under the crisp control of Third Coast Percussion”
-Will Robin, bandcamp

“Rich and gripping”
-Molly Sheridan, NewMusicBox

The work of American composer David T. Little does not shy away from difficult topics. Whether it’s in his operas (a recent commission came from the Metropolitan Opera’s MET/LCT new works program) or with his Orwell-inspired ensemble Newspeak, Little uses the juxtaposition of blunt force and subtle textures to explore themes of power, truth, corruption, and desperation.

David T. Little’s new album, Haunt of Last Nightfall, is available on New Amsterdam Records. Performed and commissioned by acclaimed ensemble, Third Coast Percussion, the piece looks to a tragic moment in El Salvadoran history, the massacre at El Mozote, El Salvador in December 1981.

Of the piece, Little says, “I think a lot about ghosts…of things that remain behind as the fleeting evidence of what once was. Since reading about El Mozote, I have been unable to get it out of my mind: how this village, innocent by virtually every account, was wiped out. Caught in the crossfire of a stupid ideological battle, its people now ghosts. What we know shapes us, and whether I like it or not, I now know this.”

Purchase Haunt of Last Nightfall.

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Resounding Earth

Resounding Earth

Top 10 Classical Albums of 2013 – Time Out Chicago
Our Favorite Music of 2013 – Chicago Reader 

“Immaculately recorded…marvel at the ensemble performing the intricate work on the accompanying DVD”
-The New York Times

“Third Coast’s performance is as synchronous as it is dramatically fertile”
-Time Out Chicago

“Across four movements, the work’s bells, including 18 Burmese spinning bells and 26 Japanese “singing” bowls, as well as cymbals, gongs, triangles, coiled springs, metal pipes, and vibraphone come together to create an ethereal, Eastern-tinged sound with changing moods and colors”
-The Wall Street Journal

“The resonant sounds of the standing bells created such vivid sounds that one could almost imagine seeing the sound waves moving through the air and bouncing off of one another”
-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Spot-on audio and video performances”
-Chicago Tribune

“Clangorous and transporting”

“The periodic accumulation of sustained clouds of dissonance made for one of the most powerful new music experiences I’ve felt in years”
-Chicago Classical Review

Bells can be used to celebrate grand occasions, hold sacrificial rites, keep a record of events, give the correct time, celebrate births and weddings, mark funerals, caution a community, enhance any number of religious ceremonies, and are even hung around the necks of animals. Bells are central to the music of composer Augusta Read Thomas, who is among the most sought-after composers working today.

Written in 2012, Resounding Earth is scored for nearly three hundred unique bells and other resonant metal objects. The composition of the work, and the selection of the specific bells used in the recording, was completed in close collaboration between Thomas and Third Coast Percussion.

The album is available as an audio CD, and as a DVD with complete audio/visual of the work.

Purchase Resounding Earth. 

JOHN CAGE – The Works for Percussion 2


Top 10 Classical Albums of 2012 – Time Out New York
Top 10 Classical Albums of 2012 – Time Out Chicago
Top 20 Classical Albums of 2012 – Rhapsody

“A superb new disc”
Alex Ross, The New Yorker

“One of the great gifts of the Cage centenary year”
Seth Colter Walls, emusic

“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.”
Steve Smith, Time Out New York

“The members of Third Coast Percussion lavish each touch with the sort of microscopic attention to detail and steely command of the larger musical flow that Angela Hewitt brings to a Bach fugue.”
John Terauds, Musical Toronto

“These performances have a special fluency and zest that sets them apart from most other recorded versions.”
Andrew Clements, The Guardian

“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.”
Doyle Armbrust, Time Out Chicago 

“The recordings alone are of exceedingly high quality and satisfying in and of themselves, and the DVD adds another layer of depth, personality, and—quite literally—color to the music that is well worth the investment.”
Alexandra Gardner, New Music Box

The Independent 

This album offers performances of works from John Cage’s early life with a “special fluency and zest that sets them apart” (Guardian). It was during this time that Cage met and studied with Arnold Schoenberg and Henry Cowell, worked with Lou Harrison, and found inspiration in Oskar Fischinger’s dictum that “everything in the world has a spirit that can be released through its sound.”

Throughout the recording process we worked closely with Cage’s manuscripts and personal correspondence, made available through the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, the Northwestern University Music Library, and the John Cage Trust’s founding trustee and Executive Director Laura Kuhn.

The album is available as an audio CD, and as a DVD with complete audio/visual of each work.

Purchase JOHN CAGE – The Works for Percussion 2. 

Unknown Symmetry

Third Coast Percussion’s second full-length album, “Unknown Symmetry,” describes a very personal history of the Chicago-based ensemble from their founding in 2005 to today. The album includes the first recording of the percussion quartet arrangement of Arvo Pärt’s iconic work, Fratres; beautiful, rarely-heard works by Peter Garland and Christopher Deane, and new music from Third Coast Percussion’s own David Skidmore and former member of TCP, Owen Clayton Condon.

Skidmore’s multi-movement work, “Common Patterns in Uncommon Time,” was commissioned for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and architectural studio in rural Wisconsin.

The album is available as an audio CD, and as a DVD with complete audio/visual of each work.

Purchase Unknown Symmetry.

Listen to two tracks from the album for free for a limited time.

Click here to read more about the 8 year-process of making this album.

Ritual Music


“This is an outstanding recording, both in terms of the compositions and the performance.”

Percussive Notes, the Percussive Arts Society

Our debut EP, Ritual Music, features highlights from our first few seasons of concerts, including New York superstar composers Nico Muhly’s Ta and Clap, the beautiful marimba chorale Twilight by Swedish composer Tobias Brostrom, and 2 pieces by Third Coast members: Clay Condon’s Double Helix and David Skidmore’s Ritual Music.

Purchase Ritual Music.