Chicago's 'Third Coast Percussion' Takes Home Grammy

Feb 17, 2017

This year at the Grammys - Chicago native Chance The Rapper took home multiple awards, including one for Best New Artist. But another Chicago based group took home its first win, though the category it took the Grammy for goes a little more under the radar.

The Third Coast Percussion ensemble is based in Chicago, it won for the Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble. The  record combines various percussion instruments (surprise!) with piano compositions by Steve Reich, a pioneering minimalist composer along the lines of Phillip Glass. It beat out hundreds of contenders submitted for consideration. Among its expansive catalog, the ensemble has performed John Cage works in the past, indicative of its propensity for engaging in music that skews toward the avant garde side of contemporary classical music.

"Dan Nichols, an NIU professor, adjusts recording equipment as he works on a project"

Dan Nichols grew up in Quincy and now lives in Elburn. He was the sound-designer and recording engineer for Third Coast Percussion's Steve Reich album. He's a professor at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, and also CEO of Aphorism Studios. Nichols says working as a recording engineer with the group was an honor, and the win: " A momentous occasion for me, it helps me reflect on all the musical and personal interactions I've had with teachers and students and mentors and peers along the way."