Third Coast Percussion

 featuring music of
JLin and Jay Afrisando

Sunday,  April 7, 2024
7:00 p.m. Doors Open; 7:30 p.m. Start

Music Center Recital Hall, UC Santa Cruz

More event details here

The Grammy award-winning quartet, Third Coast Percussion, presents the music of JLin, "one of the most forward-thinking contemporary composers in any genre” (Pitchfork 2019), and a new work by Jay Afrisando, described as “ultramodern…on the cutting edge of new technologies” (Minnesota Public Radio 2019). Featuring workshops, developed for the ensemble’s UCSC residency, by UC Santa Cruz composers Rodrigo Barriga and Michael Fleming.

Presented by the UC Santa Cruz Digital Arts and New Media and Music Department as part of the April in Santa Cruz Festival. 


The Life of Instruments (2024) Jay Afrisando

Quartet II (2024)                 Rodrigo Barriga

Inner-Earth Ruminations: Into the Cave of Swords (2024)

Michael Fleming

Perspective (2020)      JLin                                                      



What is behind music? The Life of Instruments questions the what, how, why, and where instruments play roles in music. This work merges instrumentalists, audio descriptions, captions, and screenplay into a playful, thought-provoking story and experience. This work is in collaboration with Third Coast Percussion, Jocelyn Frank, and Rob Byers. —JA

I am constantly fascinated with ephemeral images in nature. When I first learned about the Naica crystal caves of Mexico, music instantly filled my imagination. In this piece, Inner-earth Ruminations: Into the Cave of Swords,  I aim to sonically recreate the environment of and the experience of being in a cave of giant crystals, from sweat instantly vaporizing from the forehead due to the extreme temperatures,  to reveling in the patterns of beauty of the crystals all around you. 

The cave in Naica, Mexico was discovered to have car- sized crystals that jut from the walls in every direction and is over 130 degrees fahrenheit, as the cave sits on top of a pool of bubbling magma. When the cave was first discovered, it was called the Cave of Swords, for its huge, sharp glimmering crystals.  Research here has provided insight into how organisms can thrive and grow in extreme conditions. After studying the cave, researchers will fill the cave up with water like it was found to help continue the growth of the crystals for the next millenia

My goal with this piece was to create a colorful and groovy work that features the groans, pops and clicks of the earth as giant crystals form over millions of years. Each player has roles that will constantly interact with each other, creating huge bright sonic crystals that jut into the air from all directions. I engage with and adapt cyclical rhythms from the tabla tradition of North India throughout the piece, which creates a dynamic and intriguing sense of rhythm and timbre that aids and enhances my expression of the majesty of the crystal cave.  I am grateful for my tabla teachers Justin DeHart, Doug Scheurell, and Ashwin Batish for showing me amazing and limitless ways to explore timbre, rhythm and expressing myself. I am also very grateful for Third Coast Percussion for their outstanding musicianship and collaboration.  (Duration: ca. 8 minutes.) —MF

Jlin’s multi-movement work Perspective was written for Third Coast Percussion (TCP) through a highly collaborative process. After exploring and sampling instruments from TCP’s vast collection of percussion sounds at their studio in Chicago, she created an electronic version of each of the work’s seven movements using these samples and other sounds from her own library.

The members of Third Coast Percussion then set about determining how to realize these pieces in live performance. Diving into each of the audio tracks, the percussionists found dozens of sonic layers, patterns that never seem to repeat when one would expect them to, and outrageous sounds that are hard to imagine recreating acoustically. Even typical percussion sounds like snare drum, hi-hat, or kick drum exist in multiple variations, subtle timbral shades in counterpoint or composite sounds.

In pursuit of the broad expressive range of Jlin’s original tracks, TCP’s live version of this piece incorporates mixing bowls filled with water, bird calls, and a variety of gongs and tambourines, as well as many variations of drum set-like sounds: instruments that are like a hi-hat but not a hi-hat, or serve the function of a snare drum but are not a snare drum.

Jlin named her piece Perspective as a reference to this unique collaborative process, that this work would exist in two forms, the same music as interpreted through different artists and their modes of expression.

In addition to concert performances, Third Coast Percussion will feature the full 7-movement Perspective in its Carnegie Hall debut in January 2023, as part of a collaboration with Movement Art Is. That project features choreography by MAI founders Lil Buck and Jon Boogz, and new music by Tyondai Braxton in addition to Jlin’s work and TCP’s arrangements of music by Philip Glass.

Perspective by Jlin was commissioned for Third Coast Percussion by the Boulanger Initiative, the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation, Carnegie Hall, the Lester & Hope Abelson Fund for the Performing Arts at the Chicago Community Foundation, the DEW Foundation, and Third Coast Percussion’s New Works Fund. [Total duration: 23 minutes.]


Perspective was named a Finalist for the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for music.



Jay Afrisando  is an Indonesian composer, multimedia artist, researcher, and educator. He works on aural diversity, acoustic ecology, and cultural identity, focusing on disability and environmental justice, arts and accessibility, and decolonizing arts practices. He shares vital experiences and disseminates knowledge through multisensory and antidisciplinary practices, including video, text, spatial audio, fixed media, improvisation, and various collaborative methods. 

Photographer credit: Kakia Gkoudina

Rodrigo Barriga is a composer and performer. His work explores ensemble interaction and communication through the use of openness and guided improvisation. His compositions include text scores for open instrumentation as well as works for chamber and rock instruments. He performs solo and with his own ensemble.

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Michael Fleming delves into the delicate beauty of ephemeral moments in nature through music. Informed by collaborations and studies with masters across musical traditions, his work incorporates an array of concepts and techniques. Through each project, Fleming seeks to craft a compelling sonic journey that resonates with the essence of human experience. Much of his recent work explores and integrates timbres and musical traditions from around the world, creating an illuminating intercultural dialogue through chamber music. 

Composer JLin  - a math lover, a former steel factory worker and a proud resident of Gary Indiana, Jlin (a.k.a. Jerrilynn Patton) has risen to become one of the most distinctive composers in America and one of the most influential women in electronic music. Jlin’s introduction to producing music stems from Chicago footwork, but diverse influences ranging from Igor Stravinsky and Philip Glass give Jlin’s complex percussion-driven work a sophisticated polyrhythmic sound all its own.

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 and “dazzling rhythmic workouts” (Pitchfork). In its latest GRAMMY® nomination, TCP’s 2023 album Between Breaths has been nominated under Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance in the 2024 GRAMMY® Awards.

Third Coast Percussion

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 41 of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, 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 (

*Third Coast Percussion is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.