CCCC: Third Coast Percussion Program Book October 2019

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Third Coast Percussion Sat, Oct 12, 2019 / 7:30pm Logan Center Performance Hall

CHICAGO CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY COMPOSITION The Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition at the University of Chicago is a dynamic, collaborative, and interdisciplinary environment for the creation, performance and study of new music and for the advancement of the careers of emerging and established composers, performers, and scholars. Distinguished by its formation within an uncompromising, relentlessly searching, and ceaselessly innovative scholarly environment that celebrates excellence and presents new possibilities for intellectual dialogue, the Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition is comprised of ten integrated entities: an annual concert series with the resident Grossman Ensemble, CHIME (Chicago Integrated Media Experimental Studio), visiting ensembles, distinguished guest composers, performances, recordings, research, graduate student-led projects, workshops, and postdoctoral research positions.

FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR Augusta Read Thomas ADVISORY BOARD Seth Brodsky Anthony Cheung Jennifer Iverson Amy Iwano Travis Jackson Sam Pluta Barbara Schubert STAFF & PARTNERS Will Myers, Graduate Student Assistant Maria Savannah, Operations Coordinator Claire Snarski, Graphic Designer Margo Strebig, Director of Communications Christopher L. Willis, Recording Engineer Amy Iwano, Executive Director, UChicago Presents Landon Hegedus, Communications & Production Assistant, UChicago Presents Daniel Meyers, Marketing Coordinator, UChicago Presents Hugo Seda, Director of Production, UChicago Presents

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PROGRAM — THIRD COAST PERCUSSION Sat, Oct 12, 2019 / 7:30pm Logan Center Performance Hall

PETER MARTIN (b. 1980)

BEND (2016)


Shi (2008)

AYANNA WOODS (b. 1992)

Triple Point (2018)



GEORG FRIEDRICH HAAS Iguazú superior, antes de descender por la (b. 1953) Garganta del Diablo (2018) WORLD PREMIERE

Please hold your applause for a moment of silence after each piece, for everyone’s enjoyment. Join us for an after-party with the artists in the Gidwitz Lobby.

The Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition is proud to partner with UChicago Presents for tonight’s performance of Third Coast Percussion, presented as part of UCP’s 2019/20 Contemporary Series. This season, UChicago Presents invites audiences to Listen Boldly with unique collaborations and one of a kind performances, including duo piano improvisations by Craig Taborn and Kris Davis and a performance in complete darkness of Georg Friedrich Haas’ ninth string quartet, played by the JACK Quartet. More information including a complete listing of concerts is available at

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THIRD COAST PERCUSSION Third Coast Percussion is a Grammy Awardwinning Chicago-based percussion quartet. For 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 34 of the 50 states plus international tour dates in Colombia, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Taiwan, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, and Poland. 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 corner stone 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, 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. 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, 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 Emerging Composers 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 six full-length albums, three EPs, and a number of appearances on other 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

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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 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, and the Adler Planetarium, 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 Chicagobased 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: Facebook: @Third Coast Percussion Instagram: @ThirdCoastPercussion Twitter: @ThirdCoastPerc *Third Coast Percussion is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.

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BEND – Peter Martin Peter Martin’s quartet BEND draws inspiration from the player piano compositions of Bruce Goff, a wonderfully unconventional architect and amateur composer. Many of Goff’s piano rolls were highly stylized geometric designs perforated into the scrolls, resulting in music that created very clear sonic “shapes.” Whereas these shapes would create the pitch and rhythm in a player piano performance, BEND translates these shapes into volume, tone, and gesture. The composer’s experience with the piano rolls — through a blurry, decadesold video — inspired an unconventional sound palette created with alternative techniques on two marimbas.

.... Renowned as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator, Third Coast Percussion’s Peter Martin was Assistant Professor and Director of Percussion Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond before returning to Chicago in 2013 to pursue TCP full time. Martin has composed music for many of the group’s educational and concert projects in recent years.

Shi – Alexandre Lunsqui The word Shi means “food” in Chinese and this lively trio calls the performers to utilize several objects that might be found in an Asian kitchen as musical instruments, such as bamboo mats, glass bottles, chopsticks, and small metal barbeque grills. Lunsqui writes, “For me, the world of percussion instruments has been an open door to a vast array of sonic explorations. 5 | Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition

Very often this door leads me to the kitchen or a warehouse store nearby.”

.... Alexandre Lunsqui was born in São Paulo, Brazil. After ten years based in New York City, he is back in Brazil as a Professor of Composition and Theory at the Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). He studied at the University of Campinas (BM), University of Iowa (MA), Columbia University (DMA), and IRCAM (year-long cursus of composition and computer music). His music background includes Brazilian music, jazz, and contemporary improvisation. Lunsqui’s music has been played across North and South America, Europe, and Asia by ensembles such as the New York Philharmonic, Arditti String Quartet, and International Contemporary Ensemble.

Triple Point – Ayanna Woods Triple Point was composed as part of Third Coast Percussion’s Emerging Composers Partnership program, through which TCP works with composers early in their careers to develop pieces through a series of collaborative workshops. The 2017-2018 Emerging Composers Partnership was made possible by generous support from Louise K. Smith, with additional support from the Sargent Family Foundation. The Triple Point of a pure substance is the temperature and pressure where it can be a solid, liquid, and gas in equilibrium. That sounds a lot more tranquil than it actually is; you can find videos online of liquid bubbling into gas, rapidly freezing

and then exploding and melting into liquid again. In some ways it’s always the same, and in some ways, it never stops moving. It’s something that’s stable on the one hand, and colliding with itself on the other. This title came out of one of our workshops together as the piece was taking shape. We talked about the sound world being meditative and groovy at the same time. That’s something that I tried to lean into as I was writing. — Ayanna Woods

.... Ayanna Woods is a composer and performer from Chicago, IL. She earned her BA in music at Yale University. Woods’ work has been performed by the Chicago Children’s Choir, ZRL, Fifth House Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble, and Longleash Trio, among others. Her music has also appeared in a range of film and theater projects, including the Emmy-nominated web series Brown Girls and an original Manual Cinema play No Blue Memories, based on the life of Gwendolyn Brooks. In 2018, she was a vocalist in the world premiere of PLACE, a new work by Ted Hearne, Saul Williams and Patricia McGregor. She is the bassist for TASHA and Michael Albert Group. Her music explores the spaces between acoustic and electronic, traditional and esoteric, wildly improvisational and mathematically rigorous.

Kodama – Rodrigo Bussad In Japanese lore, the term Kodama has many different meanings in different eras. Kodama were said to be spirits, nature deities that dwelled in trees. Some believed that Kodama were not linked to a

single tree but could move nimbly through the forest, traveling freely from tree to tree. But they were also a sound; echoes that reverberated through mountains and valleys were said to be Kodama. The sound of a tree crashing in the woods was also said to be the plaintive cry of Kodama. In composing this work for Third Coast Percussion, I met with the quartet for a series of workshops. I began by gathering different instruments that could be combined into a collection of sounds that could act as one instrument. I tried to find the inner voice of this new instrument, and create musical ideas that are interlaced with the physicality of the instrument itself. — Rodrigo Bussad

.... São Paulo-born composer Rodrigo Bussad is currently pursuing his Ph.D. degree in Composition at The University of Chicago. He has won numerous awards, including the Student Division and Professional Chamber Music Division of the American Prize in Composition, Ukho Ensemble Workshop and the Valencia International Performance Academy (VIPA). Bussad’s music has traveled the Americas, Europe and Asia, with performances by renowned ensembles including the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Grossman Ensemble, Spektral Quartet, Imani Winds, Ukho Ensemble (Ukraine), Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, BrowerTrio:B3 (Spain), Ensemble motoContraio (Italy), cross.artEnsemble (Germany), and ABSTRAI Ensemble (Brazil). Bussad recently co-produced the newest album by NanaFormosa Percussion Duo (Taiwan), which includes Third Coast Percussion | 6


his marimba duo “Moon Inside (II)” as the title track.

Iguazú superior, antes de descender por la Garganta del Diablo (“Upper Iguazú, before descending through the Devil’s Throat”) – Georg Friedrich Haas Iguazú Falls, on the border of Brazil and Argentina, is (by some measures) the largest waterfall system in the world. The falls divide the Iguazú River into its upper (“superior”) and lower (“inferior”) segments, with about half of the river’s water flow dropping through a narrow chasm known as “The Devil’s Throat,” about 75 feet taller than Niagara Falls. Haas’ percussion quartet stands out among his decades of tonally innovative music as a work focused on rhythm and texture, with no defined pitch. The 30-minute piece maintains a relentless momentum that persists even as textures thicken and thin, the music becomes louder and quieter, and new sounds are introduced. As the quartet emerges into sections that bubble gently, dart frenetically, or lock into angular, asymmetrical rhythms, it is always being pulled forward. Beneath it all is a rhythmic concept Haas first explored in his Three Pieces for Mollena — a constant tempo acceleration, which is sustained by occasionally introducing slower, related rhythms. Sometimes known as a “Risset Rhythm,” this is the rhythmic equivalent to the “Shepard Tone” used in many of Haas’ other works — an aural illusion of eternally rising pitch.

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The endless accelerando of Iguazú superior provides a stretching foundation upon which a rich palette of percussive timbres interact. Haas provides an openended guideline for the four players to build matching set ups: 6 semi-resonant metals, 3 very resonant metals, 4 wood sounds, and 5 drums for each player. In addition, the players have a few specified unique instruments: a whip crack and bells for player 1, bass drums for player 2, particular cymbals and gongs for players 3 and 4. These specific instrumental sounds anchor the sound of the ensemble and provide dramatic punctuations at intense moments, while the freedom granted in choosing the other instruments create opportunities for each ensemble who performs this grandiose work to construct its own sound world. Iguazú superior, antes de descender por la Garganta del Diablo was commissioned by the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress, with additional support from the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University and the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. It was written for Third Coast Percussion. Third Coast Percussion would like to an extend an additional thanks to the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation, whose support of TCP’s Creative Workshop allowed for the development, workshopping, and preparation of this new work.

.... Georg Friedrich Haas has emerged as one of the most significant composers of his generation. His music draws on the grand orchestral tradition of his native

Austria, as well as recent movements in experimental and modernist music. Haas’ works often make use of microtonality, spectralism, and lighting as an integral part of a score, creating music that is spacious, immersive, and otherworldly. His immense output includes seven operas, nine string quartets, and numerous concerti, ensemble, chamber and solo works. Haas’ In Vain for 24 players and theatrical lighting, and Limited Approximations for 6 microtonally-tuned pianos with orchestra are regarded as some of the most ground-breaking works of recent decades. Haas won the Grand Austrian State Prize for Music in 2007, the country’s highest artistic honor, and joined the faculty of Columbia University in 2013.

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HEAR in NOW Thu, Oct 24 / 7:30pm Logan Center Penthouse HEAR in NOW is a string trio that composes and improvises fluidly between free jazz and contemporary classical, folk, and avant-garde music. The trio comprises musicians Mazz Swift on violin/vocals, Silvia Bolognesi on double bass, and Tomeka Reid on cello. Free admission. HEAR in NOW

This concert is part of the University’s Experimental Music Series and is presented by the CCCC, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, the Arts, Science + Culture Initiative, and UChicago Arts.

Grossman Ensemble with Michael Lewanski, conductor Fri, Dec 6 / 7:30pm Logan Center Performance Hall

Grossman Ensemble

The CCCC’s resident ensemble takes the stage for its first concert of the season. The ensemble that “filled the evening with wonder and, at times, awe” (Third Coast Review) premieres four works by distinguished guest composer Tania León, Grossman Ensemble co-director Anthony Cheung, and UChicago composers Will Myers and Alison Yun-Fei Jiang. Guests are invited to an after-party in the Gidwitz Lobby following the performance. Tickets: $15, students free with ID or call 773.702.ARTS (2787)

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CCCC’S 2019-20 DISTINGUISHED GUEST COMPOSER: TANIA LEÓN The CCCC has invited Tania León to serve as this season’s Distinguished Guest Composer. León is an internationally lauded Cuban-born composer and conductor recognized for her accomplishments as an educator and advisor to arts organizations. She has received Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Colgate University, Oberlin and SUNY Purchase Colleges, and as Professor at Brooklyn College, where she has taught since 1985, she was named Distinguished Professor of the City University of New York in 2006. León’s residency will take CCCC’s programming outside of the concert hall with a variety of community activities.

OPEN REHEARSALS Join us for an open rehearsal of León’s new work for the Grossman Ensemble titled Ritmicas Wed, Oct 23 / 9:45am – 4:45pm / Fulton Recital Hall, Goodspeed Hall (1010 E. 59th St.) Sat, Nov 9 / 9:00am – 4:00pm / Logan Center Performance Hall Thu, Dec 5 / 9:00am – 4:00pm / Logan Center Performance Hall

OTHER PUBLIC EVENTS Rhythm as Material: a luncheon discussion with composer Tania León and Plena Libre, moderated by composer Augusta Read Thomas Fri, Nov 8 / 12:00pm Classics Building, Room 110 (1010 E. 59th St.) Presented in partnership with the Center for Latin American Studies and the Department of Music Artists Live: Tania León Thu, Dec 5 / 8:00pm Logan Center Penthouse An intimate dialogue about León’s personal and professional path. The conversation examines a variety of topics, revealing the artist’s story in the process, and includes opportunities for audiences to engage with the León in discussion.

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The Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition relies on the financial support of its patrons and friends to present world-class contemporary music programs. You, and other supporters like you, are at the core of the CCCC. Please consider sharing your love of contemporary music by making a contribution.

CCCC COMMISSION CLUB The Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition is committed to creating new works by a variety of composers, from senior luminaries in the field of new music to exceptional junior composers. You can help create new music and support a composer by joining the CCCC’s Commission Club. Leave a legacy in the form of music or honor a special person or event in your life. Partner with us today!

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR DONORS & SUPPORTERS Robert Anstee, Carolyn (Kay) Bucksbaum, Ingrid Gould and Robert Hsiung, Sanford J. Grossman Charitable Trust, Jack W. Fuller and Debra Karen Moskovits, James F. Melchert, Gay K. Stanek, and Benjamin Stanigar.

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