From concert and album reviews to feature articles, Third Coast Percussion is in the news.

We are fortunate to have garnered critical acclaim and recognition for so many of our performances and projects. See for yourself what the buzz is all about by reading what the press has to say! Browse reviews, articles, and much more below.

The Arts Fuse: Third Coast Percussion at the Rockport Music Festival

June 25, 2024, by Aaron Keebaugh

It has been nearly 20 years, but Third Coast Percussion has managed to retain its uncanny freshness and vitality. The Concerto for Violin and Percussion Orchestra remains one of the most original scores in the chamber repertoire. And given that its composer, Lou Harrison, bent tradition every creative which way, that is really saying something. For much of his creative life, Harrison was a musical chameleon, as at home with the 12-tone techniques of Arnold Schoenberg as he was with the diatonicism of Aaron Copland and clamorous pastiches of Charles Ives. Yet his affinity for rhythm — and the often-forceful use of it — established him as a unique voice in 20th-century American music. Harrison helped rethink the percussion ensemble as a viable expressive force. Several works, such as Concerto No. 1 and Canticle No. 1, call for sizable percussion sections. But above those stands the Concerto for Violin and…

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Sheperd Express: Special Night at Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

June 12, 2024, by Brendan Fox

In his opening remarks at this concert on Saturday night, Maestro Ken-David Masur said something that I don’t recall hearing from him before in these exact words: “We have a very special program for you.” And he meant it. So what was so special about it? Well, the MSO was about to perform Toru Takemitsu’s From me flows what you call Time for the first time in over 20 years, with the help of Third Coast Percussion and added percussionist John Corkill. Masur acknowledged the still-new hall, noting, “It’s important to do this piece to explore the space with all our senses.” The rest of the program? Debussy and Dukas. If there was a connecting theme, it would be pure sonic luxuriance. After Dukas’ Fanfare pour précéder La Péri heralded the evening with brilliant, hall-filling sound from the MSO brass, it was time to enter the unique sound world of Takemitsu. The setup for…

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San Francisco Classical Voice: Third Coast Percussion Highlights a Unique Perspective

June 4, 2024, by Lev Mamuya

Within classical music, many like to pretend that a performer’s role — whether presenting a classic work, commission, or arrangement — is to access something static and predetermined about the composer’s intent.  The reality: Through the act of performance, musicians give unique embodiment to a score, imbuing it with singular and experientially specific emotional resonance. In this way, performers are collaborative producers in every work, be it a staple of the canon or a world premiere. Few ensembles lay out this case in clearer terms than Third Coast Percussion did in its Friday night program at the Nimoy Theater for UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance. The ensemble’s interpretive powers expanded the emotional architecture of commissions from Gemma Peacocke and Danny Elfman. And across arrangements of music by Philip Glass and Clarice Assad and a collaborative realization of composer Jlin’s electronic scores, Third Coast’s distinctive footprint came into even clearer focus. Peacocke’s Death…

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Chicago Classical Review: Third Coast Percussion puts on spectacle with Montgomery, She-e Wu

, by Katherine Buzard

Third Coast Percussion’s concert on Friday night at DePaul University’s Holtschneider Performance Center demonstrated again why live performance is so vital. Only in person is it possible to feel the energy sizzling between the members of TCP as they bring to life such rhythmically and texturally complex music. Particularly in an age where computer-generated beats are ubiquitous, it is easy to take for granted the amount of communication, concentration, and physicality required to achieve their level of precision and artistry. Even more than for traditional chamber groups, there is a visual dimension to TCP’s performances as you watch them change instruments and mallets as deftly as dancers. You can see how the unusual sounds are created, which might not be readily apparent without a visual clue. Trying to count the number of instruments on stage Friday night would have been fruitless, but suffice it to say TCP’s extensive setup included flowerpots, Almglocken (tuned cowbells), Tibetan singing bowls, and tom drums with…

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Third Coast Review: Third Coast Percussion and Jessie Montgomery Give a Moving Performance

June 3, 2024, by Louis Harris

Third Coast Percussion gave another wonderful performance at DePaul’s Gannon Auditorium on Friday night. The program included several works that have appeared on recent TCP releases. Highlights, however, were provided by composer/violinist Jessie Montgomery, the Mead Composer-In-Residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Montgomery ended the concert with a performance of Lou Harrison’s Concerto for Violin and Percussion Orchestra. To pull that off, TCP members Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore were joined by a fifth percussionist, She-e Wu, who is the Director of the Percussion Program at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. TCP performances are fun to watch. Upon entering the hall, the audience is confronted by a stage full of noise-making devices. Center stage on Friday were the keyboard instruments vibraphone, marimba, and glockenspiel arranged to face each other. Nearby were drums, bass drums, pipes, whistles, mallets, violin bows, and many other objects. Stage right had single…

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Bells, quiet moments help Milwaukee Symphony show off sonic beauty of its hall

May 21, 2024, by Jim Higgins

Some of the most exciting moments of Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's concert Fridayevening were the quietest ones. At very end of Tōru Takemitsu's "From me flows what you call Time," music director Ken-David Masur, the orchestra and guest musicians waited for ringing bells arrayed like chimes to come to a silent halt. The audience, too, listened attentively without coughing or rustling assound slowly ebbed away, giving Allen-Bradley Hall the mien of a cathedral. Masur could hardly have chosen a more fitting program to show off the acoustic hospitality ofthe MSO's newish home court. Only in the final, dessert-like serving of Paul Dukas' "TheSorcerer's Apprentice" did the orchestra actually play loud. Instead, Friday's program oftenallowed us to hear the timbre of a single instrument, or appreciate the natural decay of a noteas it dissipated in the air. The music began with Dukas' bright yet mellow fanfare for his ballet score "La Peri,"…

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The Intelligencer: Percussion Ensemble Strikes A Bang with Local Students

April 2, 2024, by Joselyn King

Third Coast Percussion performed three songs for students and participated in a panel discussion Thursday night at Wheeling Park High School as they prepared for a performance with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. tonight. During the concert, retiring WPHS strings instructor Benjamin Podolski will be presented with the WSO’s inaugural “Music Educator Award” – an honor given “in recognition of an educator that exemplifies extraordinary dedication to music education so that students are inspired and empowered through music performance.” Students from both WPHS and John Marshall High School attended Thursday night’s panel discussion. Asking questions and adding comments were WSO Music Director John Devlin and WPHS band director Jason Birch. Third Coast Percussion members Rob Dillon, Peter Martin, David Skidmore and Sean Connor discussed how they discovered percussion as friends in middle school, then went on to pursue music education degrees at Northwestern University near Chicago where they…

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Fanfare Magazine: “Between Breaths”

February 1, 2024, by Colin Clarke

Previous releases have shown Third Coast Percussion to be an ensemble of the very highest echelon: Archetypes (in Fanfare 44:6) and Paddle to the Sea (41:6) are both executed to a superb standard. The present album’s title, Between Breaths, refers to music as a means of escape from the chaos of the modern world in which “designification” (the removal of meaning from signs) is omnipresent. With thesefive works, the listener is invited to explore another space, one that offers a place from which perspective can once more make its mark. Missy Mazzoli’s star is in the ascendent, certainly in the UK, where the Barbican Centre is according her one of its “Total Immersion” days: a whole day of events and performances from both BBC forces and students from the neighboring Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her Millennium Canticles (2022),commissioned by Third Coast Percussion and available for performance from the publishers Wise Music Classical after December 2024, glistens: Don’t…

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Musical America Worldwide: New American Chamber Recordings, Part I

January 23, 2024, by Clive Paget

Between Breaths, the latest album from Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion, features five world premieres linked by the idea of meditation. Missy Mazzoli’s five-movement Millennium Canticles imagines a community attempting to recreate the rituals of human life after some kind of catastrophe. The eclectic palate includes wooden planks, drums, metal pipes, and chimes, plus vocal sounds suggesting shock, rage, and hope. “Famous Disaster Psalm,” for example, involves sharp intakes of breath over muted xylophone, while the snippy percussion in “Bloodied Bells” punctuates a soundscape of reverberating chimes. “Choir of the Holy Locusts” mixes insect-like buzzing with bursts of chant, and “Survival Psalm” channels Kathak drumming with its plosive vocalizations. Tyondai Braxton’s feelgood Sunny X adds electronics to an array of gongs, woodblocks, metal pipes, and plates for a fast ride in a minimalist-inspired machine. Hypnotic patterns built from tiny unpitched phrases combine with funky electronic washes in a work that oozes…

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Third Coast Review: Third Coast Percussion Premieres New Work by Carlos Carrillo

, by Kathy D. Hey

Third Coast Percussion (TCP) is an immensely talented quartet of musicians that have taken percussion to new levels with each performance. David Skidmore, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin and Sean Connors have been creating music and unique experiences by collaborating with composers and performers since 2005. TCP has done so much to illustrate percussion as an art form itself and redefine what makes an instrument. On January 19, they presented the mainland premiere of Música Poéticaby Afro-Caribbean composer Carlos Carrillo at Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center (SRBCC) in Chicago. SRBCC has been around for 50 years as a place where young people can explore and learn music-particularly Afro-Latin music. It is a cause very dear to Carrillo, who has set up programs for youth who do not have access to classes in music theory and may not qualify to get into elite college music programs. Carrillo is currently a professor at the…

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