Meet 2017 Toy Piano Festival Participant – Monte Taylor

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Monte Taylor (b.1991) is composer and guitarist whose music reconciles his obsessions with heavy metal, progressive rock, and jazz with modernist and experimentalist concert music.

His works have been performed throughout the US, including Charlotte, Miami, Michigan, Missouri, and Kansas, and festivals including Australian Percussion Gathering, Charlotte New Music Festival, Florida Electro-Acoustic Student Festival, Kansas City Art Institute’s ArtSounds, SCI, and SPLICE, by such notable musicians as Compositum Musicae Novae and Bent Frequency. Cross-disciplinary collaborations as a composer and performer include work with actors and dancers from the University of Missouri – Kansas City, and visual artists from Kansas City Art Institute.

He is an active free improviser, performing with composer Paul Rudy, saxophonist/horn sculptor Mark Southerland, The Tipping Point, Unbound, and the UMKC IMP Ensemble, at Subtropics Marathon, Miami Buskerfest, Stanford CCRMA Teleconcert, and International Workshop Struer.

Taylor holds a B.M. in Composition from the University of Missouri – Kansas City and is a Teaching Assistant working on an M.M. in Composition from the University of Miami Frost School of Music. He currently studies composition with Charles Mason. Previous teachers include Dorothy Hindman, Chen Yi, Lansing McLoskey, James Mobberley, Paul Rudy, and Zhou Long, as well as classical guitar with Douglas Niedt.

What sparked your interest in toy piano?
Like many, my first exposure to toy piano as a “serious” concert instrument was John Cage’s “Suite for Toy Piano”. As well as the novelty it presented to me at the time, I was interested in the limitations of the instrument (i.e. limited range, dynamic, sustain) and how Cage chose to address them. Seeing how many composers have chosen to write for toy piano has further encouraged me to explore the instrument.

What do you hope to achieve artistically or educationally from your participation in the festival?
Artistically/Educationally, I hope to see how others have overcome the challenges of writing for toy piano, In particular, I want to see how others have treated its role as a member of an ensemble, where the limitations of the instrument create further compositional challenges.

Professional Website


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