new thoughts about new (percussion) music
from Third Coast Percussion
Third Coast Percussion to join University of Notre Dame as Ensemble-in-Residence
We are thrilled to announce that Third Coast Percussion has been named ensemble-in-residence at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center!
As ensemble-in-residence, Third Coast will perform on the university’s Presenting Series, engage in interdisciplinary collaborations across campus, premiere new works, conduct master classes and provide community-building outreach performances for youth in local schools.
We are beyond excited to be partnering with this incredible institution. Our new position at Notre Dame begins this summer and will continue for the next 5 academic years. We will be maintaining an active presence on campus throughout the year, though the ensemble will still be based in Chicago. Click here to read the full press release.
We have some incredible projects in the works already, including collaborations with the university’s College of Engineering and Master of Sacred Music program. We plan to tour many of these projects around the country so stay tuned for more details!
Travel Log: How to Build a Pianotron
TCP was in Colorado this past month for a week and a half of performances and masterclasses throughout the state. The Rocky Mountain State (aka the land of Green Chili and Subaru’s) provided us with many amazing experiences, topped off in Boulder, CO where we were given a very old and wheezy upright piano to nip/tuck into Pianotron v2.0. The first Pianotron was the brainchild of Clay Condon, and made its debut back in 2009 on a performance of Louis Andriessen’s Workers Union as part of TCP’s Chicago Concert Season. Since then, we’ve made it part of our John Cage repertoire in the third movement his early work Quartet.
Travel Log: South Bend, IN
TCP spent 6 Days in South Bend, IN as part of the world premiere performance of Augusta Read Thomas’ Resounding Earth. Read more here.
Travel Log: Florida, September 2012
TCP landed in Tampa, FL last week - 5 days in the sunshine state culminating in our performance at New Music New College on Saturday, the 22nd.
First order of business was to refuel and recharge at a local eatery, Skippers Smokehouse, thanks to the solid research of TCP’s culinary adviser, Mr. Robert Dillon.
Yes, that is a tree growing out of the restaurant. Other observations include the reaffirmation that many things taste like chicken, including Alligator.
We stopped by University of South Florida for a Masterclass on the music of John Cage with student percussionists before loading a truck full of gear and heading down to Sarasota.
JLA’s Inuksuit in Chicago
…you do an outdoor show involving 99 musicians traveling from across the country to Millennium Park, Chicago. It starts to rain…
…a storm is brewing, scheduled to peak right at the downbeat. You decide to wrap your drums in cellophane (doesn’t sound too bad actually – think of it as a double ply drum head)…
…the show is about to start, it’s raining, but not too bad, so you throw on a few more trash bags, put on a poncho, grab some mallets…
…first 20 minutes are just fine. It’s raining, but the audience has showed up with some umbrellas and everything is going fine. You play your first notes on the drums and suddenly the sky opens up and dumps on you. Torrential downpour – it couldn’t possibly be raining any harder. The music keeps going, the water splashes in every direction from your drums as you play. Between phrases you wipe puddles of rainwater from your bass drum…
It’s been about a week since Third Coast participated in one of the most unique concerts of the summer in Chicago. Directed by Doug Perkins and Eighth Blackbird, 99 musicians performed John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit as part of the Loops and Variations concert series on Sunday, August 26th. None of us really anticipated the massive weather accompaniment and, while they weren’t the most immediately desirable conditions, the result was one of the most memorable performances and musical experiences I’ve ever had. Performers and audience alike knew that they were part of something extremely special that day. Check out the Chicago Sun-Times review of the show.
As I looked across the lawn with all of the carefully wrapped instruments, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Land Art works of Christo and Jeane-Claude, with their wrapping of monuments and landscapes.
I also thought of Walter de Maria’s Lightning Field (1977) with hundred of metal poles scattered across a remote part of the New Mexico desert.
While there was no lightning last Sunday at Millennium Park, the connection between art and nature couldn’t have been more vivid. I couldn’t help but be consumed by the connection between the music and the storm, and how it couldn’t have been more perfectly combined. While a performance of this piece anywhere would be amazing - this one , for everyone who was there, was something truly special.
RENGA:Cage:100 - Complete Composer List
Below is the complete list of 100 composers who have contributed to this project in honor of John Cage’s centenary. Each composer gave us 5-7 seconds of music which we have strung together into a single continuous piece we are calling RENGA:Cage:100. We will be premiering the piece this Thursday, August 9 at MoMA, with a preview performance Tuesday, August 7 at the Kennedy Center. If you can’t be at either performance, you can watch a live video webcast on the Kennedy Center’s website.
Huge thanks to all of these composers for contributing their creative energy to this project. The piece has turned out even better than we could have hoped. We’re excited to premiere it this week!
RENGA:Cage:100 - a sneak peek
We have begun our final series of rehearsals on the 100-composer collaborative project that we are curating in honor of John Cage’s centenary. We will premiere RENGA:Cage:100 at the Museum of Modern Art on Thursday, August 9, with a preview performance taking place at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage on Tuesday, August 7.
Each of our 100 composers has written 5-7 seconds of music, and we are stringing together all 100 composer contributions to create a single piece of music that our friend Jen Richards from eighth blackbird described here as “the first true musical expression of social media culture.” Not our original intention - but perhaps an appropriate tribute to a composer whose work seems as relevant, innovative, even topical today as it did 20, 30, 40…even 70 years ago (as is the case with his early percussion music).
It has been very interesting to see what composers choose to do with their 5-7 seconds. We asked composers to spend at least 100 seconds on their contributions to the project, but not more than 100 minutes. So hopefully the result is a sort of musical stream of consciousness from 100 very different minds, all of whom are creating music in our world today.
Some contributions look very much like (and in some cases are) an excerpt from a percussion piece with standard notation, such as this beautiful contribution we received from Paul Lansky:
Others have maintained certain temporal parameters of standard notation (time is represented as moving forward from left to right across the page) while abandoning other standard parameters, as in this contribution from Stephen Miles:
On the far end of the spectrum, certain RENGA contributions are a series of instructions written out as text, with little or no relationship to standard musical notation, such as this brilliant and very fun piece from Jay Alan Yim: