Monday, May 16, 2022 at 7:30 pm
The Highland Lofts, Elgin
“The Hero” from Archetypes (2019/2020) …… Clarice Assad (b. 1978) / arr. Third Coast Percussion
Metamorphosis No. 1 (1988/1999/2020) …… Philip Glass (b. 1937) / arr. Third Coast Percussion
Percussion Quartet (2019) …… Danny Elfman (b. 1953)
“Fields” from For All Its Fury (2018) …… Devonté Hynes (b. 1985)
Perspective (2020) …… Jlin (b. 1987)
Guest Artist Biography
(click each title below to read)
Third Coast Percussion
Third Coast Percussion is a GRAMMY® Award-winning Chicago-based percussion quartet and GRAMMY®-nominated composer collective. For over fifteen years, the ensemble has created exciting and unexpected performances that constantly redefine the classical music experience. 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). Third Coast Percussion maintains a busy tour schedule, with past performances in 38 of the 50 states and Washington, DC, plus international tour dates across 4 continents.
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 four members of Third Coast are also accomplished teachers, and make active participation by all students the cornerstone of all their educational offerings.
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 and footwork producers, to some of the world’s leading concert musicians. Third Coast Percussion served as ensemble-in-residence at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center from 2013—2018, and currently serves as ensemble-in-residence at Denison University.
A commission for a new work from composer Augusta Read Thomas in 2012 led to the realization that commissioning new musical works can be—and should be—as collaborative as any other artistic partnership. Through extensive workshopping and close contact with composers, Third Coast Percussion has commissioned and premiered new works by Philip Glass, Missy Mazzoli, Gemma Peacocke, Flutronix, Jlin, Tyondai Braxton, Augusta Read Thomas, Devonté Hynes, Georg Friedrich Haas, Donnacha Dennehy, Glenn Kotche, Christopher Cerrone, David T. Little and today’s leading up-and-coming composers through their Currents Creative Partnership program. TCP’s commissioned works have become part of the ensemble’s core repertoire and seen hundreds of performances across four continents.
Third Coast Percussion’s recordings include thirteen feature albums, and appearances on eleven additional releases. The quartet has put its stamp on iconic percussion works by John Cage and Steve Reich, and Third Coast has also created first recordings of commissioned works by Philip Glass, Augusta Read Thomas, Devonté Hynes, Gavin Bryars, Donnacha Dennehy, David T. Little, Ted Hearne, and more, 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. Third Coast has since received 3 additional GRAMMY® nominations as performers, and in 2021 they received their first GRAMMY® nomination as composers.
Third Coast Percussion has always maintained strong ties to the vibrant artistic community in their hometown of Chicago. They have collaborated with Chicago institutions such as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the Chicago Children’s Choir, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Chicago Humanities Festival, and the Adler Planetarium. TCP performed at the grand opening of Maggie Daley Children’s Park, conducted residencies at the University of Chicago and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, created multi-year collaborative projects with Chicago-based composers Augusta Read Thomas, Glenn Kotche, and chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird, and taught tens of thousands of students through partnerships with The People’s Music School, the Chicago Park District, Rush Hour Concerts, Urban Gateways, and others.
The four members of Third Coast Percussion (Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore) met while studying percussion music at Northwestern University with Michael Burritt and James Ross. 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.
Stay up-to-date and go behind-the-scenes by following Third Coast on Twitter (@ThirdCoastPerc), Facebook (@Third Coast Percussion), Instagram (@ThirdCoastPercussion), and YouTube (@thirdcoastpercussion).
*Third Coast Percussion is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.
(click each title below to read)
A powerful communicator renowned for her musical scope and versatility, Brazilian American Clarice Assad is a significant artistic voice in the classical, world music, pop, and jazz genres, renowned for her evocative colors, rich textures, and diverse stylistic range. A prolific Grammy-nominated composer, with over 70 works to her credit, she is also a celebrated pianist and inventive vocalist. Ms. Assad has released seven solo albums and appeared on—or had her works performed on—another 30. Her award-winning Voxploration Series on music education, creation, songwriting and improvisation has been presented throughout the United States, Brazil, Europe, and the Middle East.
Third Coast Percussion worked together with Clarice and her father, the legendary classical guitarist Sérgio Assad, to develop the Archetypes project, which premiered in early 2020. The twelve movements of this suite are each inspired by a universal character concept that appears in stories and myths across cultures, such as the jester, the ruler, the creator, or the caregiver. Each of the performers chose certain archetypes that sparked their imaginations, with Clarice and Sérgio each composing four of the movements, and each member of Third Coast Percussion composing one. With Clarice’s blessing, TCP arranged her composition “The Hero” from this project for percussion quartet alone, as an additional opportunity to share this bold music with audiences.
Archetypes was recorded by Sérgio and Clarice Assad with Third Coast Percussion and released on Cedille Records in March 2021, and nominated for GRAMMY Awards in three categories.
“The Hero” duration: 4 minutes
Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times.
Glass’s Metamorphosis was originally composed as a set of five pieces for solo piano. The first of these (“Metamorphosis No. 1”) was arranged for Brazilian musical group Uakti as part of their project Aguas da Amazonia for their own gamut of instruments, many of which were custom-made and built by the performers. Drawing on both the Uakti arrangement and the original piano music, the members of Third Coast Percussion arranged and re-orchestrated this piece along with the rest of the cycle of works from Aguas da Amazonia, utilizing mallet percussion instruments and other unique instrumental colors such as melodica, desk bells, and almglocken (tuned Swiss cowbells).
Duration: 10 minutes
For over 30 years, four-time Oscar nominee Danny Elfman has established himself as one of the most versatile and accomplished film composers in the industry. Beginning with his first score on Tim Burton’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Elfman has scored over 100 films, including: Milk, Good Will Hunting, Big Fish, Men in Black, Edward Scissorhands, Batman, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Alice in Wonderland, Silver Linings Playbook, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Justice League, and The Grinch, as well as writing the iconic theme music for the television series The Simpsons and Desperate Housewives.
Before beginning his film scoring career, Elfman played in the Gamelan at Cal Arts (though he was never officially enrolled as a student), made a self-guided tour across Africa absorbing a diversity of musical traditions, worked with his brother Richard in an experimental musical theater group in France, and helped found the band Oingo Boingo. In recent years, Elfman has expanded his composition projects into the concert music world. His Serenada Schizophrana, commissioned by the American Composer’s Orchestra, premiered at Carnegie Hall in 2005, and Rabbit and Rogue, for the American Ballet Theater choreographed by Twyla Tharp, was performed at The Metropolitan Opera house in 2008.
Elfman’s Percussion Quartetwas written for Third Coast Percussion to premiere at Philip Glass’s “Days and Nights” Festival in Big Sur, California in October 2019. In composing his first percussion piece for the concert hall, Elfman drew on the vast collection of instruments he has amassed in his studio over the years. Third Coast Percussion also sampled some of their more unique sounds, including tuned pieces of metal flat bar and wooden slats, for Elfman to explore. The quartet’s four movements loosely follow the structure of a traditional symphony, with a gentle, more lyrical second movement, and a dance-like third movement that combines the feel of a Shostakovich scherzo with sounds reminiscent of balofon and gamelan. Each movement maintains a steady energy while shifting rapidly between sounds, styles, and tempos. Elfman’s distinct voice is clearly recognizable throughout, in a slightly warped harmonic language, and moments of playfulness, mystery, and drama.
Duration: 20 minutes
Devonté Hynes is a British singer, songwriter, composer, producer, and author, now residing in New York City. He has released five studio albums under the name “Blood Orange,” and previously released two albums as “Lightspeed Champion.” He has produced for artists such as Solange Knowles, Sky Ferreira, and Carly Rae Jepsen, and has made his own solo appearances on the Pitchfork and Coachella Music Festivals. Hynes plays cello and piano, and recently performed some of Philip Glass’s etudes as part of an all-star lineup for Glass concerts at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Hynes also has a background in dance and has worked with ballet dancer Maria Kochetkova and choreographer Emma Portner in his own music videos.
Hynes composed the music for an entire evening-length program featuring Third Coast Percussion and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, with new choreography created by Emma Portner, Jon Boogz, and Lil Buck, which premiered in Chicago in September 2018. To create this 75-minute opus, Hynes composed music with synthesized and sampled sounds, which he then sent to Third Coast Percussion. TCP experimented with instruments to create a live performance version of the music, which they then recorded and sent back to Hynes for feedback, then eventually to the choreographers to create the dance. Tonight’s program features an excerpt from this program, “Fields,”which takes its name from Hynes’ inspiration for the entire project, an image of an open field in which both the music and dance could play.
Third Coast Percussion’s album “Fields,” which includes all of the music composed by Hynes as part of the project with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, was released on Cedille Records in October 2019 and was nominated for two Grammy Awards for “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance” and “Best Engineered Album, Classical.”
This work was commissioned by the Charles and Joan Gross Family Foundation. The project was supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Third Coast Percussion New Works Fund, and the Elizabeth F Cheney Foundation.
Duration: 6 minutes
Jlin (Jerrilynn Patton) is a producer based in Gary, Indiana. Her unique and evolving electronic sound is rooted in Chicago’s iconic footwork style, with additional influences ranging from Nina Simone to Igor Stravinsky. Jlin’s work assembles evocative and vivid sounds into a musical style that she describes as “clean, precise, and unpredictable.” Her debut album “Dark Energy” was released to critical acclaim in 2015, and her second album “Black Origami” in 2017 to rave reviews from NPR Music and Pitchfork. She has written music for Kronos Quartet and choreographer Wayne McGregor, and has recently performed at the Big Ears Festival, Whitney Museum of Art, and Toledo Museum of Art, among others.
Her seven-movement work Perspective was written for Third Coast Percussion through a highly collaborative process. Jlin visited TCP at their studio in Chicago multiple times to discuss their musical inspirations and new possibilities, and to explore and sample instruments from TCP’s vast collection of percussion sounds. She then created the first version of each of the work’s seven movements in FL Studio (a Digital Audio Workstation) using these samples and other sounds from her own library.
The members of Third Coast Percussion then set about determining how to realize these pieces in live performance. Jlin provided the ensemble recordings of the full tracks as well as the stems (individual recorded parts) that make up the track. Diving into each of the tracks, the percussionists found a beautiful complexity—dozens and dozens of stems in each track, patterns that never seem to repeat when one would expect them to, and outrageous sounds that are hard to imagine recreating acoustically. Even typical percussion sounds like snare drum, hi-hat, or kick drum exist in multiple variations, subtle timbral shades in counterpoint or composite sounds.
In pursuit of the broad expressive range of Jlin’s original tracks, TCP’s live version of this piece incorporates—in addition to standard instruments like marimba and vibraphone—mixing bowls filled with water, bird calls, a variety of gongs and tambourines, and a metal spring coil, as well as many variations of drum set-like sounds: instruments that are like a hi-hat but not a hi-hat, or serve the function of a snare drum but are not a snare drum.
Jlin named her piece Perspective as a reference to this unique collaborative process, knowing that this work would exist in two forms, the same music as interpreted through different artists and their modes of expression.
In addition to concert performances, Third Coast Percussion will feature the full 7-movement Perspective in its Carnegie Hall debut (postponed due to the pandemic) as part of a collaboration with Movement Art Is. That project features new movement choreographed by MAI founders Lil Buck and Jon Boogz, and new music by Tyondai Braxton in addition to Jlin’s work and TCP’s arrangements of music by Philip Glass.
Perspective by Jlin was commissioned for Third Coast Percussion by the Boulanger Initiative, the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation, Carnegie Hall, the Lester & Hope Abelson Fund for the Performing Arts at the Chicago Community Foundation, the DEW Foundation, and Third Coast Percussion’s New Works Fund.
Duration (of the 5 movements featured in tonight’s show): 23 minutes
Upcoming Concerts & Events
Featuring Third Coast Percussion
This is a virtual event.
Available Tuesday, May 17, 7:30pm through Tuesday, May 31, 2022, 11:30pm
Chamber Music on the Fox Celebrates the Animal Kingdom
Family concerts at Lords Park Zoo
June 13, July 11, August 1 at noon.
These are free events!