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.

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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Interlude: Life After Life | Missy Mazzoli’s Millennium Canticles

December 28, 2023, by Maureen Buja

American composer Missy Mazzoli (b. 1980) has been given the title of ‘Brooklyn’s post-millennial Mozart’ and in 2018, was one of the first two women commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera (the other composer commissioned was Jeanine Tesori). She attended the Yale School of Music, the Royal Conservatory in the Hague, and Boston University and is now on the faculty of Bard College. Her 2022 work, Millennium Canticles, was commissioned by Chicago’s Third Coast Percussion to create a work ‘where a group of people strives to recreate the rituals and stories of human life after an apocalypse.’ The five parts seem to create their own ceremony, with titles that include words such as Psalm and Litany. She opens with Famous Disaster Psalm, for wooden percussion and breathy voices. They count, they breathe, and have some dramatic moments of utter silence after a big in-draw of breath. We know something has happened but…

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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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