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.

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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The Press Democrat: ‘Play’ is the message and style of Santa Rosa Symphony world premiere

November 7, 2023, by Diane Peterson

Clarice Assad, an accomplished singer, composer and pianist based in Chicago, grew up in a musical family in Brazil, where she sang almost as soon as she could talk and composed almost as soon as she could sing. Music came naturally to the daughter of renowned classical guitarist Sergio Assad, who with his brother Odair performs all over the world as the Assad Brothers guitar duo. When Clarice was still a child, her career path was set, thanks to her father’s tutelage. “There were so many powerful moments of connection with and through music,” Clarice said of her childhood. “It was never imposed on me. It was like a conversation, but a conversation through music. ... He always encouraged me to create. So I started believing in it, and by the time I was 6 and he left for Europe to work, I believed it.” Now 45, the multifaceted musician…

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Sonograma Magazine: Between Breaths

October 11, 2023, by Carme Miró

Originally published in Catalan; translated to English below. Onomatopoeias, which are very common in the language between musicians—logical, since they portray the sounds—, they play a very important role in Between Breaths ('Entre respiraciones'), an album of world premieres by four contemporary composers. Between Breaths is a deep reflection of sound, with unconventional timbres and tones. Chicago's Grammy Award-winning percussion quartet Third Coast Percussion harnesses the expressive richness of percussion, pushing it to unsuspected limits. To celebrate this new album, the quartet officially kicked off their season with a performance of the entire album at The Reva & David Logan Center for the Arts on September 2, 2023. Composer Missy Mazzoli, renowned forher inexhaustible inventiveness, presents the work Millennium Canticles ('Càntics del millêlenni'), in which she uses various materials, such as wooden bars, resonating metal tubes, bells and a variety of onomatopoeias and vocal expressions. In Practice follows, a work written by the collective of composers Third…

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I Care If You Listen: Third Coast Percussion Brings Unrestrained Intensity to World Premieres in “Between Breaths”

September 15, 2023, by Forrest Howell

Third Coast Percussion’s Between Breaths is another fresh and thought-provoking album in what has been a steady stream of recordings from the Grammy-award winning quartet over the past seven years. Released Sept. 8 on Cedille Records, Between Breaths returns to many themes explored on the ensemble’s debut EP, Ritual Music (2006): relationships between individuals, communities, and ritualistic acts. The highly programmatic and hypnotic new album showcases the quartet’s vision for commissioning works by living composers and features world premiere recordings of works by Missy Mazzoli, Tyondai Braxton, Ayanna Woods, and Gemma Peacocke, and by Third Coast Percussion itself. Mazzoli’s Millennium Canticles depicts people in a post-apocalyptic world trying to rediscover the stories and rituals of humanity. The narrative arc takes listeners through the initial creation of ritual, the adoption of deity (locusts, in this case), the evolution of ritualistic acts, the creation of dogma, and the inevitable tension between individuals and the impositions of a ritual-centered community. Mazzoli creates this foreboding sonic landscape…

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Musical America: Third Coast Percussion’s Newest Is as Personal as It Is Powerful

September 8, 2023, by Hannah Edgar

CHICAGO — Classical music might be ever more undefinable, but one constant is usually assured: works are written by, and reverently credited to, a single composer. For Third Coast Percussion, all bets are off. For the better part of a decade, the Chicago-based quartet has centered collectively written works in its repertoire, a creative outgrowth captured on recent albums: Paddle to the Sea (2018), Archetypes (2021) and Perspectives (2022). On September 2nd, the group previewed its newest album, Between Breaths, at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts. The particular selection of works felt like the group’s truest self-portrait to date. “In Practice,” for one, is a nearly 20-minute rumination on the daily rituals of each member, including morning cereal, pre-performance warmups, a cup of tea, and even teeth brushing. Bowls and mugs got rapped like crotales, and an electric toothbrush buzzed between vibraphone keys. The collectively written…

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Third Coast Review: Third Coast Percussion Unveils Between Breaths in Music and Film

September 5, 2023, by Louis Harris

Third Coast Percussion opened their 2023-24 season Saturday night with a celebration and performance of Between Breaths, their new CD on Cedille Records that will be released later this week. Originally part of another festival that had been cancelled, Saturday’s performance ended up taking place at the Logan Center for Performing Arts in Hyde Park. As it turned out, there is no better venue for this percussion quartet to show off its immaculate playing and multi-media presentation. Having been around for over 15 years and with a Grammy Award to their credit, Third Coast Percussion offers one of the most riveting performances of any classical ensemble in Chicago. The entire stage is cluttered with marimbas, drums, xylophones, bells, glockenspiels, cymbals, and an extraordinary number of noisemakers. Each piece requires movement, both in hitting the instruments and in switching between them during the performance. TCP combines perfect playing and magnetic stage…

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Third Coast Review: Third Coast Percussion Adds Transcendent Movement Art to Metamorphosis

May 10, 2023, by Kathy D. Hey

How could Third Coast Percussion top their gorgeous rendering of Metamorphosis by Philip Glass? Stir in some gravity and body structure-defying dance. What TCP does with percussion is make music out of objects that are not always instruments per se. At their performance of Rituals and Meditations at DePaul, we were treated to a banquet table of toys, doodads, and doohickeys. On Tuesday, three movement artists were added to notch things up at the Harris Theater. The result is called Metamorphosis and it is a delight for the eyes and ears. Third Coast Percussion is a Chicago-based quartet that is known all over the world. Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore are innovators and collaborators who elevate the art of percussion. They have commissioned pieces from newer artists and widened the diversity of performers and composers of contemporary classical music. It is always great to watch the…

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Chicago Tribune: Third dancer’s the charm in unforgettable collaboration between Third Coast Percussion and Movement Art Is

, by Hannah Edgar

It had been a hectic 24 hours for Third Coast Percussion. As ensemble member David Skidmore told Tuesday night's audience at Harris Theater, the percussion quartet spent the previous day preparing "Metamorphosis," an exuberantly staged performance to choreography by multidisciplinary dance organization Movement Art Is. But when dancer Trent Jeray came down with a sudden illness so severe he had to bow out, Ron Myles - a specialist in the same Memphis street dance style as Jeray, and who had worked on "Metamorphosis" during its inception in 2020 - was flown to Chicago to take his place on short notice. Turns out, though, the infirm Jeray woke up on Tuesday "feeling like a million bucks," per Skidmore. So, Third Coast moved forward with three dancers instead of the usual two - a first for "Metamorphosis," which has toured the U.S. since last year. It was an aptly sensational frame for…

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