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Third Coast Percussion

Chicago, IL            

Sean Connors   Robert Dillon   Peter Martin   David Skidmore

Third Coast Percussion is a Grammy-winning, artist-run quartet of classically-trained percussionists hailing from the great city of Chicago. For over ten years, the ensemble has forged a unique path in the musical landscape with virtuosic, energetic performances that celebrate the extraordinary depth and breadth of musical possibilities in the world of percussion. The ensemble has been praised for “commandingly elegant” (New York Times) performances, the “rare power” (Washington Post) of their recordings, and “an inspirational sense of fun and curiosity” (Minnesota Star-Tribune). The four members of Third Coast are also accomplished teachers, and since 2013, have served as ensemble-in-residence at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

A direct connection with the audience is at the core of all of Third Coast Percussion’s work, whether the musicians are speaking from the stage about a new piece of music, inviting the audience to play along in a concert or educational performance, or inviting their fans around the world to create new music using one of their free mobile apps.

The quartet’s curiosity and eclectic taste have led to a series of unlikely collaborations that have produced exciting new art. The ensemble has worked with engineers at the University of Notre Dame, architects at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, dancers at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and musicians from traditions ranging from the mbira music of Zimbabwe’s Shona people, to indie rockers, to some of the world’s leading concert musicians. The ensemble has also maintained strong ties to the vibrant artistic community in their hometown of Chicago, and has collaborated with Chicago institutions including Eighth Blackbird, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Adler Planetarium, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and the Chicago Philharmonic.

Through extensive workshopping and close contact with composers, Third Coast Percussion has commissioned and premiered new works from Philip Glass, Augusta Read Thomas, Devonté Hynes, Donnacha Dennehy, Glenn Kotche, Lei Liang, Gavin Bryars, Christopher Cerrone, Marcos Balter, and today’s leading up-and-coming composers through their Emerging Composers Partnership Program. These works have become part of the ensemble’s core repertoire and seen hundreds of performances across North America and throughout Europe.

Third Coast Percussion’s recordings include five full-length albums, three EPs, and a number of appearances on other releases. The quartet has put its stamp on iconic percussion works by John Cage, Steve Reich, and Philippe Manoury, and Third Coast has also created first recordings of commissioned works by Augusta Read Thomas, David T. Little, and Ted Hearne, in addition to recordings of the ensemble’s own compositions. In 2017 the ensemble won the Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble performance for their recording of Steve Reich’s works for percussion.

The four members of Third Coast Percussion met while studying percussion music at Northwestern University. Members of Third Coast also hold degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Rutgers University, the New England Conservatory, and the Yale School of Music. Third Coast Percussion performs exclusively with Pearl/Adams Musical Instruments, Zildjian Cymbals, Remo Drumheads, and Vic Firth sticks and mallets.

Third Coast Percussion

This video showcases TCP’s performance, education, and community engagement work. It features scenes from community performances in Millennium Park, STEM-to-STEAM workshopping sessions with engineering students at the University of Notre Dame, educational programs with elementary school students, and more.

Music: “Mallet Quartet” by Steve Reich, performed by Third Coast Percussion, from the Grammy-Award winning album “Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich”

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Third Coast Percussion and The People’s Music School: Music Composition Project

In 2018, TCP established “Embark”, a hub for the ensemble’s education work in their hometown of Chicago. “Embark” was inaugurated with a series of workshops with partner organization The People’s Music School, a tuition-free music academy that provides high-quality music education to families from underserved communities throughout Chicagoland. In a 4-day residency, TCP guided TPMS students through the composition and performance of their own original work. TCP offers this residency activity regularly, both at home in Chicago and on tour.

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TCP performs David Skidmore’s “Torched and Wrecked”

All four members of TCP are composers and contribute new music to the ensemble’s repertoire regularly. “Torched and Wrecked” is part of David Skidmore’s larger collection of works titled “Aliens with Extraordinary Abilities.” This work for percussion quartet and electronic playback showcases TCP’s virtuosity, contemporary sound, and visceral performance energy. The piece has become a staple of TCP’s repertoire and an audience favorite, often closing TCP performances and bringing audiences to their feet.

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