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Classical Music

Classical Classroom, Ep. 168: Third Coast Percussion Plays At 1.21 Gigawatts

Sean Connors of Grammy-winning Third Coast Percussion talks about what being in a percussion-only ensemble is all about.



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Third Coast Percussion: musicians or mad scientists?
Third Coast Percussion: musicians or mad scientists? (Sean Connors at far right.)

“Percussion is almost anything that we say ‘yes’ to playing.” – Sean Connors

Wait. A percussion-only ensemble? Is that, like, a fancy drum circle? Sean Connors of the Grammy-winning percussion quartet Third Coast Percussion explains that this is not too far off. But the operative word is “fancy.” As Connors describes it, percussion ensembles are the mad scientists of the music world. Any object in the world is a potential instrument. And when they’ve run out of objects, they invent more. (Fun fact: Third Coast sometimes works with actual scientists at the University of Notre Dame where they are ensemble in residence.) Learn all about the crazy world of percussion ensembles and hear some amazing music in this show.

Music in this episode:

  • Mallet Quartet: III (Fast), by Steve Reich, from Third Coast Grammy performance with Ravi Coltrane
  • Wild Sound, mvt 4, by Glenn Kotche (Arduino and marimba versions)

Check out this video of Third Coast Percussion performing at their masterclass at the University of Houston’s Moores School of Music! So cool.

Audio production by Todd “Neil Peart” Hulslander with air drumming by Dacia Clay and video production and general other assistance by Mark DiClaudio.