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“Wild Sound” by Glenn Kotche

PERFORMANCE SPOTLIGHT:

“Wild Sound” by Glenn Kotche

Performed by Third Coast Percussion

Mallet Selection for this Piece:

M241

Contemporary Series (M241)

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Medium hard. The most universal choice in the series. A virtual all-purpose mallet!

M151

Ensemble Series (M151)

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Soft. Excellent for use in the lower third of the instrument. Produces a fine low-end sound. Latex thickness = 3/16"

ABOUT THE PIECE:

In its original form, Wild Sound is a multimedia performance piece scored entirely for everyday objects and custom-made instruments conceived of by composer Glenn Kotche and created by Third Coast Percussion in collaboration with the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, where Third Coast Percussion is ensemble-in-residence. Many of the instruments are constructed on stage during the performance, with the sounds of construction integrated seamlessly into the performed sound of the piece.

The last movement of Wild Sound was written with keyboard percussion instruments in mind, and eventually custom electronic instruments using Arduino technology were created for the multimedia version of the piece. However, this movement works beautifully on marimbas, vibraphones, glockenspiel and crotales, and this is the version captured in this video.

Wild Sound was commissioned by the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund. Additional support provided by The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series and the National Forum of Music in Wroclaw, Poland.

 

ABOUT THE COMPOSER:

For a percussionist and composer as energetic, inquisitive and versatile as Glenn Kotche, it’s his sense of balance—his ability to thrive in different and seemingly disparate worlds—that really makes him stand out as a musician.

Since 2001, Kotche has been the rhythmic anchor in Wilco, one of the most beloved rock bands on the planet. His first studio outing with the Chicago- based band was the breakthrough Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and has continued over the course of five albums, including the Grammy-winning A Ghost Is Born and the critically acclaimed The Whole Love. He has appeared on over 80 recordings by artists as diverse as Andrew Bird, Edith Frost, Neil Finn and Radiohead’s Phil Selway, and he’s a founding member of two other bands— Loose Fur, with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy and longtime collaborator Jim O’Rourke, and On Fillmore, with upright bassist Darin Gray. He has also written music for classical and post-classical ensembles like Kronos Quartet, the Silk Road Ensemble, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, So Percussion, eighth blackbird and many more.

Unsurprisingly, Kotche has drawn the praise of his peers from all corners of the musical spectrum. “I could never find another drummer who was Glenn Kotche,” Jim O’Rourke told Time Out Tokyo in 2013, “because there isn’t.” In the program notes for Ilimaq, a piece written in 2012 specifically for Kotche, composer John Luther Adams observed, “…in the hands of a musician like Glenn, the drum set is a one-man percussion orchestra.”

Starting with 2002’s collage-like Introducing, Kotche’s solo work traces an arc of creative growth and vitality that reflects this wide swath of influences. On Next (2002), he explored improvised rhythms on prepared drum kit installations. Mobile, released on Nonesuch Records in 2006, implied the travel-oriented theme of its title, ranging wide with vibraphone, kalimba, hammered dulcimer and crotales; Pitchforkfound it “…as rooted around high-brow concepts as it is in rhythmic dynamicity and melodic bemusement.”

Eight years later, Adventureland (Cantaloupe Music) proves that Kotche’s quest for new musical horizons still brims with the wonder of discovery— even as he stresses the importance of staying grounded.

“It’s a constant struggle,” he says, “but for me as a person and a musician, I’ve always needed that balance. I’ve been in rock bands since I was a kid and I’ve been playing in orchestra and concert band settings since then too. I’ve always had both sides, and they somehow balance each other. With Wilco, I’m creating something with five other guys; it’s a collaborative community. When I compose, it’s all me, so there is a whole different set of challenges. Obviously these are two very different avenues of musical expression, but at the same time, they inform each other. When I play with Wilco, it’s more than just laying down a beat. I’m thinking in terms of colors and textures. And I’m sure being a rock drummer influences my writing. Many of my pieces have more rhythmic energy than anything else at its core. They explore different ideas and questions I have about rhythm.”

Adventureland ripples with the spirit of experimentation, beginning with the textural and rhythmic leaps of the seven-movement pieceAnomaly (featuring Kronos Quartet and composed by Kotche on drumkit, with each limb corresponding to parts for violins, viola and cello). The Haunted is another five-part epic—a dueling “pianos vs. percussion” suite that throws Kotche’s own prodigious rock chops into the mix, particularly on “The Haunted Viaduct,” which surges like a rollercoaster ride of layered sound. Throughout the recording, Kotche’s wide range of interests, from gamelan (on “The Traveling Turtle,” with Gamelan Galak Tika) to all manner of exotic percussion instruments and field recordings (on “Triple Fantasy,” with Kronos Quartet and eighth blackbird), describes a journey that’s rich in detail and discovery.

“What I have to say as a composer comes directly from who I am as a person. The experience of being a drummer in a rock band has a strong impact on what I do musically as does having a background in experimental improv music; they both, along with my sound installations, play into what I compose. For me, composing is about being honest with myself. I have a degree in classical percussion but I’m not a trained composer, so I bring a different approach and perspective. When I’m composing, I try to remind myself to bring it back to who I am as a person and musician – and draw from my experiences. That leads to something that is certainly interesting to me to explore, and it’s definitely honest.”

ABOUT THE ENSEMBLE:

Hailed by The New Yorker as “vibrant” and “superb,” Grammy-nominated quartet Third Coast Percussion explores and expands the extraordinary sonic possibilities of the percussion repertoire, delivering exciting performances for audiences of all kinds. Formed in 2005, Third Coast Percussion has developed an international reputation with concerts and recordings of inspiring energy and subtle nuance.

These “hard-grooving” musicians (New York Times) have become known for ground-breaking collaborations across a wide range of disciplines, including concerts and residency projects with engineers at the University of Notre Dame, architects at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, astronomers at the Adler Planetarium, and more. The ensemble enhances the performances it offers with cutting edge new media, including free iPhone and iPad apps that allow audience members to create their own musical performances and take a deeper look at the music performed by Third Coast Percussion.

Third Coast Percussion is the Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, a position they assumed in 2013. They have the honor of being the first ensemble at the University of Notre Dame to create a permanent and progressive ensemble residency program at the center. Third Coast Percussion performs multiple recitals annually as part of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Presenting Series, engages with the local community, and leads interdisciplinary projects in collaboration with a wide range of disciplines across campus.

Third Coast’s recent and upcoming concerts and residencies include the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Town Hall Seattle, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival (CO), Eastman Kilbourn Recital Series (NY), St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Liquid Music Series (MN), Atlas Performing Arts Center (DC), Ensemble Music Society of Indianapolis, National Gallery of Art (DC), University of Chicago Presents, the Austin Chamber Music Festival, and more. Third Coast has introduced percussion to chamber music audiences in Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Illinois, securing invitations to return to many of these series.

Third Coast’s passion for community outreach includes a wide range of residency offerings while on tour, in addition to a long-term residency with the Holy Cross/Immaculate Heart of Mary Marimba Ensemble on Chicago’s South Side.

In addition to its national performances, Third Coast Percussion’s hometown presence includes an annual Chicago series, with four to five concerts in locations around the city. The ensemble has collaborated in concert with a wide range of artists and performing ensembles including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Eighth Blackbird, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Signal, and video artists Luftwerk.

The members of Third Coast Percussion —Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore—hold degrees in music performance from Northwestern University, the Yale School of Music, the Eastman School of Music, the New England Conservatory, and Rutgers University. Third Coast Percussion performs exclusively with Pearl/Adams Musical Instruments, Zildjian Cymbals, Remo Drumheads, and Vic Firth sticks and mallets.