Grammy award-winning Third Coast Percussion performs at UCA

Fresh off their first Grammy win, Chicago-based percussion ensemble, Third Coast Percussion, performed at the University Center for the Arts Wednesday night.

TCP has been performing since 2005. In February, TCP won their first Grammy for Best Chamber Music/ Small Ensemble Performance for their album “Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich.”


“They won their first grammy, and I say first because I suspect another coming,” said Dr. John Pippen, an assistant professor of musicology who has done field work with TCP.

Their concert at the UCA brought an array of different themed songs. Some had typical classical elements and resembled piano pieces. Some were loud and in your face pieces. Some were eerie like something straight out of a horror film, and others were absolutely trippy complete with psychedelic video projected behind the performers.

Prior to the concert, Pippen delivered a speech about the group. He addressed the crowd of slightly over 30 people who were scattered across Griffin Hall.

In his speech, Pippen discussed the concept of virtuosity and how TPC meets this criteria but also how they created their own spin by being friendly and welcoming in place where pompous attitudes frequently take over.

“Third Coast Percussion has a brand built on friendly virtuosity,” Pippen said.

TCP member Robert Dillon has described the music the group produces as not having an “academic wall in the way,” meaning anyone can appreciate their music and does not have to be a classical music aficionado.

In a few songs, there would be an aerial shot of the place they were performing projected onto a screen so the audience could fully view all that was being done and how.

The stage was covered in percussion instruments including marimbas, vibraphones, singing bowls, drums, bells and a table. But the stage remained relatively symmetrical and aesthetically pleasing.

The concert was full of movement both in the energy of the performers. Their passion was evident, which allowed the audience to enjoy the classical music and the fun performance.