Cedille's Take 5: David Skidmore from Third Coast Percussion


For this edition of "Take 5" we interview David Skidmore, co-founder of Third Coast Percussion. On February 12, we will be releasing the ensemble's Cedille debut album Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich. You can hear excerpts of the album and pre-order it here.

1. What is your most recent project and what sparked your interest in it?
Well, the project we are most excited about right now is the release of our 6th CD (our first for Cedille), entitled Third Coast Percussion | Steve Reich. We’ve been playing Reich’s music since the very first Third Coast Percussion concert 10 years ago, and to finally record these works has been such a pleasure. We’ll be touring Reich’s music all year along with some of the other projects we’re very excited about, including a major multi-media work by composer Glenn Kotche that we bring on our first European tour, and the premiere of a new work by Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy, which we’ll perform at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

2. If you weren’t a composer or a musician, what would you be?
Maybe a baker…I really enjoy baking bread. I’m a one trick pony right now: all I can make is a no-knead loaf. But I love doing it, and it’s fascinating to me that flour, water, salt, and a starter in the hands of a novice make an inedible mess, while in the hands of a master those same ingredients can create one of the most delicious foods on the planet. 

3. Was there a formative moment for you as an artist? 
I started studying piano when I was 7, and I like it but 
I didn’t love it. When I started playing percussion in middle school band I immediately fell in love with the instruments. I had the opportunity to participate in a concert with the high school percussionists in my hometown that first year of my studies. I fell in love with music on stage at that concert. My piano teacher came to the concert, and at my next lesson she told
me that she knew I loved percussion more than piano, and that I should focus my energy on that. I’ve always appreciated that advice from her.

4. What are you listening to right now?
In the last week I’ve listened to a lot of David Bowie and Pierre Boulez (may they rest), Tortoise’s new song Gesceap (from their forthcoming album), Donnacha Dennehy’s amazing piece for voice and chamber orchestra called Grá agus Bás, the Beatles (I own most of their albums but they’re recently now on Spotify as well), the Pacific Quartet’s insanely good recordings of the Shostakovich Quartets, and Kendrick Lamar’s album To Pimp a Butterfly.

5. What makes the Chicago classical music scene unique?
Artists are shaped by the city they live in, and though Chicago is a huge, world-class American city it is a much more reasonable place to live than other cultural hubs in America like New York City. I think this allows Chicago classical musicians to take bigger risks, and I think those risks lead to a greater diversity in the types of music championed by our city’s musicians. I also think that especially in small to mid-size Classical music organizations throughout Chicago there is a great spirit of camaraderie. We’re friends with each other, we support each other’s work, we share resources and advice. It truly feels like a community. 

To find out more about Third Coast Percussion, visit their website www.thirdcoastpercussion.com/ or follow them:
Facebook: @Third Coast Percussion
Twitter: @thirdcoastperc
Instagram: @thirdcoastpercussion

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