5 Questions for Composer Olivia Kieffer

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oliviakieffertoypianoOlivia Kieffer (b. 1980) hails from Appleton, Wisconsin. She is percussion instructor at Reinhardt University, where she teaches a variety of music classes and directs the Percussion Ensemble. She feels at home in both the classical and rock worlds, and is an active performer in Atlanta’s vibrant New Music scene. She is composer, bandleader, and drummer for the seven-piece rock band Clibber Jones Ensemble. Olivia’s music has been described as “honest, to the point, and joyful!”. Her projects and compositions have been highlighted in ArtsAtl, TomTom Magazine, the Atlanta Creative Music podcast, the A/B Duo blog, and on WABE-FM (90.1). oliviakieffer.com

Olivia Kieffer will join colleagues from across the globe at the 2016 Florida International Toy Piano Festival in January 2016 presented by The New Music Conflagration, Inc.

1) How did you first become interested in the toy piano as a concert instrument?
Several years ago, my husband (at the time) came home from a Salvation Army shopping trip with the most amazing find: a Schoenhut baby grand toy piano. Its legs had been cut off, it was beat up to hell, and it was delightfully out of tune. We loved it dearly. One day, I put my laptop on top of it, messed around on the instrument, and recorded several layers of Philip Glass-y arpeggios into Garageband. I was hooked!

 2) What influenced you to apply for the festival?
I had recently written my first toy piano piece; a commission by my dear friend Amy O’Dell. I immensely enjoyed writing for the instrument! Somehow, online, I found out about the festival. I applied immediately with that piece.

3) Who is your favorite toy piano composer and why?
I haven’t listened to very many toy piano pieces, but I do love “Toy Toccata” by Fabian Svensson!

4) What do you see as the future of toy piano?
Mainly, it will be expanded; electronic manipulation as much as possible, and adding it (amplified) to new chamber works. Hip hop artists will start adding it to their beats. Perhaps very out-of-tune sounds will become hip. I’d love for “toy piano quartet” to become an established genre! 

5) What local place or thing are you most excited to experience during your visit to the Tampa Bay Area for the festival
The beach, and the Salvador Dali museum.



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