5 Questions for Composer H.M. Mease

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H.M. Mease (b. 1994) composes a variety of things including shape-note hymns, performance art, visual pieces, and an American-sacred-political music lovingly named “Toilet Americana.” Other interests include riding the bus, drinking water, applying moisturizer, and trying to achieve metaphysical consolation through music and sandwich cookies. Mease studies composition with Matthew Greenbaum at Temple University in Philadelphia.

H.M. Mease 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?
Can’t remember exactly. I heard John Cage’s toy piano suite and then saw one in a store window. I went in and went “dingdingding” on the keys (like we do) and decided I had to have one. So I asked my pops for one for Christmas. My niece, three at the time, sat on it almost immediately and cried intensely when I tried to tear it from her dirty toddler grip. Ah, holiday memories. Guess I’ve always thought of the toy piano as a concert instrument.

2) What influenced you to come to the festival?
The toy piano group on facebook, actually. I thought the idea of a toy piano festival was just wonderful! 

3) Who is your favorite toy piano composer and why?
That’s a hard one! Maybe Karlheinz Essl. My favorite aspect of the toy piano is how absolutely loud and obnoxious it can but also how quaint and obnoxious it can be. His music seems to capture both sides well. Cage is still great, though. Once Michael Tan was performing the suite for toy piano and a cockroach was crawling around the piano. It was very exciting.

4) What do you see as the future of toy piano?
“dingdingdingdingdingdingdingding” (in every household) “dingdingdingdingding” (for the president) “dingdingding” (on Mars where there is water) “dingdingdingdingding” (at the end of suffering/existence) “dingdingdingding” (…)

5) What local place or thing are you most excited to experience during your visit to the Tampa Bay Area for the festival?
Those little lizards??? I am hoping.



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