Third Coast Percussion performs with Sérgio and Clarice Assad at Hancher virtual concert


Photo of a Third Coast Percussion rehearsal. Contributed by Carolina Rodriguez.

Abby McCusker, Arts Reporter

Psychologist Carl Jung developed 12 different brand archetypes that represent common forms or images in myths and legends from across the world. Third Coast Percussion, with guitarist Sérgio Assad, and his daughter, vocalist, pianist, and composer, Clarice Assad, created a performance inspired by these characters and their traits. 

On Friday night, Hancher Auditorium streamed a virtual performance of Third Coast Percussion with Sérgio Assad and Clarice Assad. The concert, titled Archetypes, featured 12 original pieces written by a member of Third Coast Percussion, Sérgio Assad, or Clarice Assad.

Each member of Third Coast Percussion composed one of the pieces for the performance. Sérgio and Clarice Assad each wrote four pieces. The group then came together to collaboratively workshop the pieces and share what they knew about their individual instruments.

Grammy-award-winning Third Coast Percussion was founded in 2005. All four members, David Skidmore, Robert Dillion, Peter Martin, and Sean Conners are accomplished teachers. The group, currently the ensemble in residence at Denison University, is a non-profit organization with the mission to educate through innovative musical experiences.

The ensemble has been nominated for four Grammy awards and won the Grammy award in 2017 for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance for their recording of Steve Reich’s works for percussion. The group has 13 feature albums and has appearances on 11 additional releases.

Joining Third Coast Percussion on Friday night was guitarist Sérgio Assad and Clarice Assad. Sérgio Assad is half of the Assad Brothers guitar duo; he composes original work for the duo and other artists. The Assad Brothers also have an ongoing collaboration with cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Clarice Assad is a Grammy-nominated composer and influence in the classical, world music, pop, and jazz genres. Along with being a composer, pianist, and vocalist, she is also an educator and created an award-winning education program called “VOXploration.” She is an Aaron Copland award winner along with numerous other awards, has seven solo albums, and has appeared or had her work on 30 other albums.

After the performance of the first piece, The Rebel, Skidmore explained that the title of the performance is Archetypes because each piece is named after one of Carl Jung’s archetypal models. The pieces performed were: The Rebel, The Innocent, The Orphan, The Lover, The Magician, The Ruler, The Jester, The Caregiver, The Sage, The Creator, The Hero, and The Explorer.  

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“We loved writing these pieces because even those each of the archetypes brings to mind very specific traits, those traits can be very different for each person who is interpreting the archetypes. For us, it was an amazing way to be creative because it was both specific, but still gave us tons of room to interpret the piece the way that made sense to us,” Skidmore said during the performance.

Different percussive instruments and multiple guitar techniques were utilized to give each piece its own unique feel. The concert did not fall under one particular genre but there were clear elements of jazz, classical, and world music throughout. Each piece embodied a specific archetype causing the music genre and vibe to change to fit the traits of each character as they were interpreted by the composer. 

The concert finished with The Explorer, composed by Sérgio Assad, but Dillon gave closing remarks for the group before the beginning of the final piece. 

“This is a project that is so meaningful to us and although we wish we could be there to share it with you in person, we’re so thrilled there is this way that we can play this music for you this evening,” Dillion said. “So please everyone stay safe, stay healthy, stay creative.”