Hosted by composer Abbie Betinis, our popular Courtroom Concerts take place at noon most Thursdays in the Landmark Center in downtown Saint Paul. This series features accomplished musicians and composers from the Twin Cities and surrounding area, as well as occasional musical newcomers to the area. These one-hour concerts are free and open to the public.
About the Artists:
Third Coast Percussion (TCP) is a GRAMMY® Award-winning Chicago-based percussion quartet and GRAMMY®-nominated composer collective, and is the first percussion ensemble to ever win the revered music award. For nearly 20 years, the ensemble has created exciting and unexpected performances that constantly redefine the classical music experience and “push percussion in new directions, blurring musical boundaries and beguiling new listeners” (NPR), with a brilliantly varied sonic palette.
The ensemble has been praised for the “rare power” (Washington Post) of more than 30 recordings and “an inspirational sense of fun and curiosity” (Minnesota Star-Tribune). Bringing their uniquely compelling programs worldwide, Third Coast Percussion maintains a busy tour schedule, with past performances in 39 of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., plus international tour dates across four continents. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2025, the ensemble is embarking on the most ambitious collaborative projects of their career, with some of the world’s leading musicians, choreographers, and composers from around the world.
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 uniting fans around the world via one of their free mobile apps. The four members of Third Coast are also accomplished teachers, and make active participation by all students the cornerstone of all their educational offerings, including thoughtfully curated K-12 workshops and family programming.
The quartet’s curiosity and eclectic taste have led to a series of unlikely collaborations that have produced exciting new art. Their omnivorous musical appetite, paired with approachable and flexible working methods, remove collaborative boundaries across cultures and disciplines. 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 and footwork producers, 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, and currently serves as ensemble-in-residence at Denison University.
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, Missy Mazzoli, Jlin, Danny Elfman, Clarice Assad, Gemma Peacocke, Flutronix, Tyondai Braxton, Augusta Read Thomas, Devonté Hynes, Georg Friedrich Haas, Donnacha Dennehy, Glenn Kotche, Christopher Cerrone, and David T. Little, plus many of today’s leading up-and-coming composers through their Currents Creative Partnership program. TCP’s commissioned works have become part of the ensemble’s core repertoire and seen hundreds of performances around the world. In 2023, Jlin’s Perspective, commissioned by TCP, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Third Coast Percussion’s recordings include 17 feature albums, and appearances on 14 additional releases. Besides putting its stamp on iconic percussion works by John Cage and Steve Reich, the quartet has created first recordings of commissioned works by Philip Glass, Augusta Read Thomas, Devonté Hynes, Gavin Bryars, Danny Elfman, Donnacha Dennehy, David T. Little, Ted Hearne, and more – in addition to recordings of original Third Coast 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 has since received four additional GRAMMY® nominations as performers, and in 2021 they received their first GRAMMY® nomination as composers.
Third Coast Percussion has always maintained strong ties to the vibrant artistic community in their hometown of Chicago. They have collaborated with Chicago institutions including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the Uniting Voices Chicago choir, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Chicago Humanities Festival, and the Adler Planetarium. TCP 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 Chicago-based composers Jessie Montgomery, Clarice and Sérgio Assad, Augusta Read Thomas, Glenn Kotche, and chamber ensemble Eighth Blackbird; and has taught tens of thousands of students through partnerships with Uniting Voices Chicago, The People’s Music School, the Chicago Park District, Rush Hour Concerts, Urban Gateways, Changing Worlds, 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, and formed the ensemble in 2005. Settling in Chicago, the four friends have carefully and thoughtfully built a thriving nonprofit organization – including full-time staff, office/studio space, and a board of directors – to support their vision and facilitate their efforts to bring new works to life. 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 by following Third Coast on Instagram (@ThirdCoastPercussion), YouTube (@thirdcoastpercussion), TikTok (@thirdcoastpercussion), Twitter (@ThirdCoastPerc), Facebook (@Third Coast Percussion) and LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/third-coast-percussion)
*Third Coast Percussion is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.