Erich Barganier is a composer and multi-instrumentalist from St. Petersburg, Florida. His compositions have been performed live or in installations in locales as diverse as New York City, London, Minsk and Sydney, and have been recorded on Nebularosa Records.
Erich is a graduate of New College of Florida. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and taught English at Belarus State University of Culture and Arts in Minsk while collecting regional folk songs for a folklore project. His music explores microtonality, non-western scale structure, generative processes and algorithmic phrasing.
What sparked your interest in toy piano?
When I was working towards my undergraduate degree, I was part of an independent study project that required the group to build improvised instruments for a classical music performance. I built an electronic device that attached to acoustic instruments in order to change their timbre and I wanted to use it on a toy piano. I really enjoyed the timbre of the instrument even without my device attached and found it easier to modify and prepare than many other instruments. It is very versatile and I was drawn to it from that point forward.
What do you hope to achieve artistically or educationally from your participation in the festival?
I am interested in composing more works for the toy piano but am somewhat unaware of what pre-existing material and techniques already exist for it. I would enjoy seeing how others compose for the instrument and also want to learn about the design and philosophy of the toy piano from the invited lecturers. I would particularly be interested in learning about the history and other applications of the instrument from an academic point of view, as I have never discovered many articles or books about the instrument’s usage in art music.