Notre Dame, IN (November 20, 2017)— The DeBartolo Performing Art Center’s acclaimed Ensemble-in-Residence, Third Coast Percussion brings new music Friday, December 1, at 7:30 p.m. to the center’s Patricia George Decio Theatre. The concert celebrates works all commissioned for Third Coast Percussion by the University of Notre Dame which have helped shape 21st-century percussion repertoire. The performance serves as the ensemble’s second of their annual six weeks of residency at the University of Notre Dame.
As part of their residency, Third Coast will visit South Bend’s Perley Fine Arts Academy and Madison STEAM Academy as well as Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation’s Grissom Middle School and Penn High School. In their fifth year as partners in education and innovation with the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Presenting Series, the fall program highlights are works by Glenn Kotche, August Read Thomas, Gavin Bryars, and the world premiere of Quartered by Ryan Lott. Lott is a composer, producer, and founder of the innovative genre-defying trio Son Lux, whose fifth studio album Brighter Wounds is due for release in early 2018.
The diverse evening of music opens the final section of Wild Sound, arranged for more standard pitched percussion instruments. Glenn Kotche and Third Coast Percussion developed 2014’s hit multi-media project in collaboration with stage director Leslie Danzig, video artist Xuan, audio engineer Dan Nichols, lighting designer Sarah Prince, and a team from the University of Notre Dame’s College of Engineering’s NDWaves internship, led by Jay Brockman. The full work utilizes custom instruments; many created on stage during the performance, as well as video art, live video, custom microphones, and a pre-constructed electronic playback track. The Chicago-based percussionist/composer Kotche has released six albums of his compositions and been the drummer and percussionist of the groundbreaking rock band Wilco since 2001.
Grammy-award winner Augusta Read Thomas’s Resounding Earth scored for four percussionists playing bells (and bell-like instruments) from a wide variety of cultures and historical periods. The piece from 2012 is an artistic statement celebrating interdependence and commonality across all peoples; and as a musical statement celebrating the extraordinary beauty and diversity of expression inherent in bell sounds. The concert features two movements from Notre Dame’s first commission with Third Coast Percussion.
British composer and jazz bassist Gavin Bryars has collaborated with Brian Eno, Spanish artist Juan Muñoz, and choreographers Merce Cunningham and William Forsythe. His 2016 composition, The Other Side of the River, is a reflective work that supplements two marimbas with woodblocks, bell plates and almglocken (tuned Swiss cowbells). Bryars’ lush harmonies are a common thread across the work’s evocative journey through scenes of nostalgia, turbulence, and arrival. The work is part of the multi-media project “See You Later” produced by the Glasgow art house Cryptic for Peak Performances and featuring Third Coast Percussion.
The second half of the concert opens with the evening’s world premiere of Quartered. Of the multi-movement surround sound percussion quartet, Lott says, “The performers of Quartered are separated by space and time. Each finds his own corner in the room and obeys his own clock while maintaining an ear for the rest of the ensemble. The clocks rarely keep the same time, but they’re always related to one another, creating moments of sudden synchronicity, gradual separation, and periodic alignment. Distinct clocks also allow for composite rhythms that are otherwise unachievable, and a periodicity that defies the sometimes-irrational relationship between them.”