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 Intelligencer: Percussion Ensemble Strikes A Bang with Local Students

April 2, 2024, by Rebecca McDaniel

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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Third Coast Review: Third Coast Percussion Commemorates 400 Years of Zildjian Cymbals

January 4, 2024, by Louis Harris

Third Coast Percussion commemorated a 400-year anniversary with the help of composer and percussionist Michael J. Burritt, who was their professor 20 years ago at Northwestern University. Burritt, who has since moved on, received a commission from the Avedis Zildjian Cymbal Company to write a 30-minute work for percussion quartet to celebrate that company’s 400th anniversary. The result was Since Time Began¸ a four-movement work that TCP performed on Tuesday night at Gannon Auditorium on the campus of DePaul University. As typically happens at a Third Coast Percussion performance, confronting the audience was a stage full of noisemaking stuff. On Tuesday there were three drum kits, various other drums and cymbals, pipes, crotales, a glass bowl half-filled with water, marimbas, vibraphones, a glockenspiel, and drumsticks and mallets of every description. TCP performances require movement between the instruments; the equipment is carefully placed and the choreography is worked out in advance. The…

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Chicago Classical Review: Third Coast Percussion gives shining advocacy to epic Burritt premiere

, by Tim Sawyier

Not getting nominated for Grammys seems to be a struggle for the Chicago-based Third Coast Percussion (TCP) these days. The dynamic percussion ensemble recently received their seventh nomination for the award. TCP’s homestand at the DePaul University School of Music’s Holtschneider Performance Center Tuesday night made it easy to see why the group continues to amass accolades and praise. The main event was the Chicago premiere of Michael Burritt’s Since Time Began, which TCP debuted at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention a few weeks ago. A 35-minute, four-movement work of symphonic scope and ambition, Since Time Began was written for TCP to honor the 400th anniversary of Zildjian, the storied instrument company long renowned for their cymbals.  Burritt was also a mentor to TCP while they were students at Northwestern, and said in the program, “When your students become your heroes, you know you’re doing something right.” Each movement of Burritt’s score seeks to…

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VAN Magazine: ‘Recordings for the End of Time’

December 21, 2023, by Olivia Giovetti

Are we still meant to be listening to music? This is something I’ve been struggling with over the last two-and-a-half months, even when I am, by virtue of my profession, actually meant to be listening to music. Either the political ramifications of a work start to become too foregrounded (try listening to Maria Callas in Cherubini’s “Medea” in this climate) or the chasm between what’s being played and what’s playing out in the real world feels too vast to bridge (which was, ironically, my experience of Peter Sellars’s refugee-“inspired” staging of Charpentier’s “Medée” at the Berlin Staatsoper).  In New York for a reporting trip last week, I had the opportunity to ask about a dozen musicians living and working in the United States whether they thought that music still had a place in such a divided and divisive atmosphere. Without fail, each one said “yes.” Even if it was a…

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Gramophone: ‘Between Breaths’

November 15, 2023, by Guy Rickards

I think I must be predisposed genetically towards music for percussion (hopefully in my next life I am fated to be a xylophonist!) but I have always loved the sound of drums, of mallet and clashed instruments. This immensely enjoyable album from the prodigiously gifted quartet Third Coast Percussion ticks all my boxes. I reviewed an earlier release of theirs, ‘Perpetulum’ (Orange Mountain Music, 6/19) and found it hugely enjoyable. As then, the best-known composer – Missy Mazzoli here, Philip Glass previously – does not necessarily provide the most compelling work, not that Mazzoli’s Millennium Canticles (2022) is anything less than absorbing. The concept is a group of survivors of some unspecified catastrophe and their mechanisms for coping. Thus, ‘The Doubter’s Litany’ is succeeded by ‘Bloodied Bells’ (the most compelling movement) and ‘Choir of the Holy Locusts’, topped and tailed by ‘Famous Disaster Psalm’ and ‘Survival Psalm’. The suite is…

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WBEZ: Chicago ensemble Third Coast Percussion get (another) Grammy nod

November 13, 2023, by Ethan Schwabe, Daniel Tucker

Grammy nominations are out and Chicago artists are well-represented. All week on the show, we’ll sit down with a few of the nominees to spin some tracks and to talk about their musical journeys. First, we check in with Third Coast Percussion, a Grammy-award winning ensemble that is nominated for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance. Click here to listen to the interview with TCP members David Skidmore and Robert Dillon.

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BBC Music Magazine: Between Breaths

, by Anne Templer

Third Coast Percussion’s latest project Between Breaths is an exploration of the meditative space craved in modern life by many, alongside collaborations with composers examining themes of tranquility, devastation, ritual and energy. These alliances have made highly detailed and precise demands on the players; sticks used on the rims, for example; or a vibraphone played variously with the motor on or off, bowed or otherwise. There are also sounds reminiscent of indigenous peoples; hints of a log drum and vocals comprising shouts, whistles and counting. These probings attempt to wrestle with vast concepts, as exemplified by Missy Mazzoli’s Millennium Canticles, which explores the idea of humankind renewing itself after an apocalypse. The five movements emerge from a dystopian world, with hints of life that grow and develop. The ensemble’s own composition In Practice covers the routines of musicians rehearsing together, accompanied by the everyday detritus of rehearsals. Nevertheless, touches of…

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