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.

Out of the comfort zone: Danny Elfman has world premiere at Philip Glass Festival

October 11, 2019, by John Malkin

Danny Elfman says his success as a musician and composer is due to continually stepping out of his comfort zone. After success with the ’80s new-wave band Oingo Boingo, Elfman broke into composing film soundtracks with “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure” in 1985. His credits now include more than 100 Hollywood movie scores including “Edward Scissorhands” and “The Circle.” He also wrote the theme music for TV’s “The Simpsons.” Now Elfman is taking another musical leap into composing symphonic concert music. The Elfman Percussion Quartet will have its world premiere at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, as part of the Days and Nights Festival. Philip Glass founded the festival in 2011 and his own composition Perpetulum will also be performed by Grammy-award winning Third Coast Percussion Ensemble. The evening will begin with a Q&A session with Elfman and Glass. The Days and Nights Festival runs through Sunday,…

Learn More

Blood Orange & Third Coast Percussion – ‘Fields’ review: luxurious ambient sounds

October 10, 2019, by Carl Anka

No genre has proven too obscure for the Ilford-born musician, and if his name is found in an album’s liner notes, there’s sure to be music of category-defying quality inside. Which makes this new release from the Grammy Award-winning, Chicago-based percussion quartet group Third Coast Percussion – for which Dev Hynes composed all the music – so intriguing. "Alt-pop polymath Dev Hynes has teamed up with Third Coast Percussion to create a beguiling record." “We’ve always felt that the future of classical music depends on deepening the collaborative process and removing the strict barriers between composers and performers,” Third Coast Percussion have written in the liner notes to the album, and while Hynes’ influences can be felt on ‘Fields’, this is an album best listened to on its own merits "There's an element of tidal fury to Fields..." Comprised of 13 compositions, the first 11 of which form a suite called…

Learn More

Devonté Hynes and Third Coast Percussion: Fields review – a crystal-clear connection

October 8, 2019, by Siobhán Kane

"There is a heady telepathy among the quartet, who approach the compositions with grace, clarity and dexterity..." So a collaboration with Chicago’s Third Coast Percussion seems fitting – the quartet of David Skidmore, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin and Sean Connors are similarly synonymous with a progressive ethos, slipping the shackles of their form. Hynes and the quartet have another connection, in Philip Glass. Third Coast have commissioned and performed works by him, and Hynes has performed with him, and elements of Glass’s work – and, at times, his contemporary Steve Reich – weave around this record. "Fields is impressive." Fields is impressive. The first 11 tracks are a suite, For All Its Fury, followed by two longer pieces, Perfectly Voiceless and There Was Nothing. All were composed by Hynes; recordings and sheet music were sent to Third Coast, who arranged and orchestrated them for their instruments, and a dialogue between composer…

Learn More

Mallets and sticks: Chicago’s Third Coast Percussion

September 30, 2019, by Mark Tiarks

Out of this environment came Third Coast Percussion, four young players who were all students at Northwestern University in 2005. Their first gigs had been educational concerts in Chicago’s public schools and city colleges, but they soon branched out with public performances on their own, many in small neighborhood bars and nightclubs. Now Third Coast is one of the hottest classical music groups in the world, hailed as “commandingly elegant” by The New York Times and “absolute masters of the art,” by BBC Music Magazine... The quartet of Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore makes its Santa Fe debut on Tuesday, Oct. 1, under the auspices of Performance Santa Fe. Their program includes music by Philip Glass (Perpetulum, a co-commission by PSF and Third Coast), Augusta Read Thomas, Mark Applebaum, and Devonté Hynes (better known to you contemporary R&B fans as Blood Orange), along with four of their own compositions.…

Learn More

Cedille Records: Take 5 with Peter Martin

, by Maddie Richter

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be? That’s quite a difficult question, because I can’t really imagine not being a musician J. Thinking back a long time to when I was a kid, I suppose I did have ideas of being a pilot or a doctor. I think perhaps that becoming a veterinarian was my last non-music career idea, but it was so long ago. I started studying piano at age 4, picked up drums and percussion around age 12 and was definitely identifying myself as a “musician” by then. There weren’t any other career aspirations after I started my first rock band in middle school, it was all about being a musician. Was there a formative moment for you as an artist?  Most of my “big artistic growth” moments have involved being exposed to something I had never known before. I remember being a young kid in middle…

Learn More

Milan MiTo September music: at the Teatro Elfo-Puccini the minimalism of Third Coast Percussion

September 24, 2019, by Various Authors

When in 1933 Edgard Varèse presented his Ionisation, for the first time we realized that the percussion in an orchestra had the ability to be something much more than a simple, so to speak, rhythmic motor. And today, after almost a century and many other composers - including Iannis Xenakis, to whom, moreover, we owe the rediscovery of Varèse in 1958 - the ensembles of solo percussion proliferate, devoted to a mostly twentieth-century and contemporary repertoire. It is a story that in the Milanese stage of MiTo, at the Elfo-Puccini theater, is intertwined with minimalism, that musical current that revolutionized the compositional conceptions of our recent past, although it was never really true: the four great fathers (Young, Reich, Glass, Riley) came to the same destination from different and independent paths. As always happens with the purest and most spontaneous revolutions there was something in the air that awaited only…

Learn More

Third Coast Percussion review – lithe rhythmic precision and Glass’s freshest score in years

, by Philip Clark

"lithe rhythmic precision" "Perpetulum" – and their own arrangement of music from Glass’s "Madeira River" which opened – showcased not only the group’s lithe rhythmic precision but also their ear for dynamic variation and timbral detail, which is more than can be said of Steve Reich’s tired, drab Mallet Quartet. A hint of Vermont Counterpoint knitted without purpose or reason into the rhythmic chug of Different Trains offered little for the musicians to chew on beyond neatly dispatching the notes. An extract from "Perfectly Voiceless", which the ensemble has been working up in collaboration with the British singer/producer Devonté Hynes (AKA Blood Orange), wore the Reich influence too keenly – arpeggios, arpeggios, always the arpeggios, but without ever defining a convincing context. "ear for dynamic variation and timbral detail" "The Other Side of the River" by another British composer, Gavin Bryars, developed as a curious-getting-curiouser creeping ritual in which jagged, uneven layers circled each…

Learn More

Performance review: The Bell Ringers

September 20, 2019, by Jillian DeGroot

On September 9, 2019, composer and arts educator Danny Clay teamed up with Third Coast Percussion for the premiere of The Bell Ringers, an evening-length participatory work on the great lawn of Chicago’s Millennium Park–transforming the soundscape of the city through Clay’s use of “play” alongside performers from a wide range of experiences and backgrounds. Green flags and snare drums encircled the lawn. A giant golden bell sat in the center. Early arrivals were already camped out in lawn chairs. Park security bustled across the grass with chattering radios. A toddler voraciously ran up to a snare and gave it a good bum-bum-bum-bum before a security guard shooed him away. Those nimble enough couldn’t help letting a cartwheel or two loose on a rare pleasant, humidity-free evening in Chicago. In the distance, Third Coast Percussion organized a crowd of performers with a bullhorn. It wasn’t long before Robert Dillon welcomed spectators to a “unique musical universe.” Then,…

Learn More

Album review: Philippe Manoury’s Book of Keyboards, Third Coast Percussion’s Masterful Rendition

September 17, 2019, by Allan J. Cronin

Philippe Manoury (1952- ) is a French composer who worked at IRCAM and is professor emeritus at UCSD.  Knowing just these facts I must admit that I let this one languish a bit before giving it a good listen.  I was just not ready for some obtuse Boulez-oriented complexity.  But Manoury is nothing if not original and even if his music has complexities it does not fail to communicate very well to the listener.  My apologies to Third Coast Percussion and the ever interesting New Focus recordings for the delay now that I’ve put my fears to rest and given the music a chance. There are two works on this disc, Le livre des claviers, Six pieces for 6 percussionists (1987) and Métal for sixxens sextett (1995).  The first piece, which translates as, “Book of Keyboards” invites connotations of monolithic masterpieces such as Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, Boulez’ Livre pour Quatuor, or any of a number of pieces with such…

Learn More

TCP included on Donnacha Dennehy’s “Surface Tension/Disposable Dissonance”

September 13, 2019, by Liam Cagney

Donnacha Dennehy’s arrival as a composer in the late 1990s heralded what was dubbed the new Irish classical. Often performed by the amplified Crash Ensemble (which he co-founded), Dennehy’s music injected welcome verve, grit and streetwiseness into the Irish classical scene. As a teacher at Trinity College Dublin, Dennehy had a lasting influence in the early years of the new millennium on the youngest generation of Irish composers. Now based in the US, Dennehy in some of his recent music has shifted more towards the centre ground, but these two works hearken back more to that early edginess. In Surface Tension (2015), inspired by the Irish bodhrán drum, Dennehy explores glissandos on the drumskin’s surface. A pulsating texture of continuous semiquavers on tom-tom gradually rises and falls in pitch, with strikes on other drums cutting through the texture. After a while, a marimba joins in; later, a bowed vibraphone carves out a…

Learn More