Photo: Kimono Photography

Think the emphasis should be placed on the first word of toy piano? If so, you’re behind the times! The repertoire and the number of toy piano performers are both steadily growing. And manufacturers like Schoenhut are custom designing and upgrading their toy pianos to make them viable for a plethora of special effects (check out David Smooke’s recent blog post over at NMB to learn more about various extended techniques the instrument is capable of enduring).

Phyllis Chen. Photo: Kimono Photography

A commissioning project organized by Phyllis Chen and run since 2007, the Uncaged Toy Piano composition competition has worked on expanding the repertoire for toy piano. On November 29, December 1, and December 3, listeners will get to hear the fruits of the contestants’ labors. The Uncaged Toy Piano Festival showcases new pieces and several imaginative approaches to the baby grand’s spunky smaller cousin. In addition to Chen (and Smooke), the festival will feature toy piano diva Margaret Leng Tan, toy instrumentalist Angelica Negron, improvisor Miguel Frasconi, avant-folkies Cuddle Magic, and Rusty Banks’ Babbling Tower-to-Tower for toy piano and cell phones(!).

Uncaged Toy Piano Festival

November 29th, 7:30pm: Playhouse at Dixon
Dixon Place Lounge
161A Chrystie Street, New York City (Lower East Side)

December 1st, 8pm: Gershwin Hotel
7 East 27th Street, New York City (between 5th and Madison)

December 3rd, 8pm: Toy Bonanza
37 Arts The DiMenna Center
450 37th Street, New York, NY

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