Official Announcements

2018 Florida International Toy Piano Festival Resident Artists

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The 2018 Florida International Toy Piano Festival features the inauguration of the first performing artist residency in the City of St. Petersburg, FL. Two festival alumni were chosen by The New Music Conflagration, Inc.’s Executive Director (Elizabeth A. Baker) and Co-Artistic Director (Mikel Thomas) and five more were chosen from an open call for proposals. The artist residents will live in cabins on the Pioneer Settlement side of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve for a week (January 2-8, 2018) during which time they will engage with the local community through public performances, open workshops, school visits, and lectures. The artist residents will also, spend time exploring the nature preserve and create new works influenced by their local experiences.

2018 Pioneer Settlement Artists-In-Residence
Melissa Grey & David Morneau – l’Artiste ordinaire (NYC)
Cindy Giron (The Hague, The Netherlands)
Daniel Fawcett & Li Tao – TATAT Ensemble (Chicago, IL & Eugene, OR)
Jonathan Hannau & Kelley Sheehan – Plucky Plunkers (Chicago, IL)

This program has been made possible by: The New Music Conflagration, Inc.; The City of Saint Petersburg, Florida; The Florida Department for Cultural Affairs; The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance; and Creative Pinellas.

02_lAo_photo_by_Rachel_Cheetham-Richard.jpgMelissa Grey & David Morneau – l’Artiste ordinaire (NYC)

Established in January 2016, l’Ao is a collaborative partnership between composer- performers Melissa Grey & David Morneau. They have three expansive projects: MOTHER, a love letter to the ocean, a hand-made card from her grateful children; Photon Ecstasy, a growing catalog of compositions that engages music, sound, science fiction, and interactive light to address the hubris of certainty; and Soft Series, a concert series dedicated to presenting soft premieres. These projects allow l’Ao to collaborate and connect with musicians, artists, engineers, scientists, and designers. For MOTHER, they have been selected as the 2018 Toy Piano Pioneer Resident Artists at the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. The premiere of Photon Ecstasy was commissioned by the University of Pennsylvania’s Kislak Center in conjunction with the exhibition of Dan Rose’s artist books, Plaisirs Arbitraires | Arbitrary Pleasures. New York Arts wrote that with repeated listenings “there’s more to be moved and impressed by, to learn from [Photon Ecstasy].” Their first collaboration, Gadget Berry Dimple: A Glossary of False Translation (benjolin, Merlin, spoken word), was performed for Hans Tammen’s 100th Anniversary of Dada at Spectrum NYC and has been published by Circumference journal, which supports poetry in translation. artisteordinaire.org

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Cindy Giron (The Hague, The Netherlands)

Cindy Giron is a composer, performer, and educator based in Boston and The Netherlands. Intrigued by silences, textures, journeys, contrasts, and conversations, her music explores all instrumentations from solo, chamber, orchestral, electronic compositions, all the way to merging different art forms, sometimes creating installations. As a 2014 First Music winner, Giron was commissioned by the New York Youth Symphony for Nelumbo, an orchestral piece with a premiere at Carnegie Hall and the United Palace Theater in New York City. Other collaborations include having not forgotten, a solo percussion piece commissioned by Gavin Ryan with a premiere in Provo, Utah and Gothenburg, Sweden. This year, Giron collaborated with the contemporary Dutch ensemble Kluster5 for the creation of her new chamber ensemble piece oNo, and also received a commission from St. Petersburg, Florida’s RogueDance Collective for her piece hu-nature, an electronic track accompanying excerpts, a newly choreographed work. Past travels and collaborations include participation as a composition fellow at Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA (2014), Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music in Germany (summer 2014 and 2016), and the Impuls International Ensemble and Composers Academy in Graz, Austria (2015). At Impuls, Giron created her first installation Friluftsliv, in collaboration with cinematographer Toshiki Yashiro. This past year, Giron also participated as a composer and performer at Co-Incidence, an experimental music residency in Somerville, MA during January 2017. At Co-Incidence, Giron premiered her mono-drama i-4-1-2 for electronics, video, lights, voice and metal objects. It was during this time that she also created a new installation Blanket for performers, fabric and movement. Recent performances include participation at the 2017 Wave Field Synthesis Festival in Den Haag, Netherlands, the Third Life Studio in Somerville, MA. Giron holds a Bachelors of Music from Manhattan School of Music, a Masters in Music Theory and Composition from NYU Steinhardt, and is currently studying her second Masters Degree in Music Composition with Practice-Based Research and a minor in Contemporary Piano Performance at The Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague, Netherlands. cindygiron.com

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Daniel Fawcett & Li Tao – TATAT Ensemble (Chicago, IL & Eugene, OR)

Tatat Ensemble is an ensemble dedicated to the performance of new music by living composers. Founded in 2017 by Li Tao and Daniel Fawcett, they have sought to combine their interests in theater, poetry, electronic media and visual art to create unique concert experiences for their audiences. They actively try and create large concert length works often implementing lesser-known, self-created musical instruments. Additionally, they seek to encourage artists of all fields to help them build an active repertoire for rarities such the as toy piano, theremin, music boxes and more. Currently, they have an ongoing project currently taking place through various social medias entitled #picturethis where they are asking both musicians and non-musicians alike to submit graphic scores for them to interpret. They hope this will bring forth more active participation and greater interest in new music. tatatensemble.com

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Jonathan Hannau & Kelley Sheehan – Plucky Plunkers (Chicago, IL)

Plucky Plunkers has ambiguous beginnings and ambiguous endings. Touting the banner as Chicago’s best and only toy piano duo they seek to engage audiences in riveting concerts that have been described as, “Pretty cool I guess”, and “Yea it was fun to listen to”. They collaborate regularly with composers in and around the city and seek to push the toy piano medium to some arbitrarily high level through eclectic programming and death defying stunts. Jonathan is a proud Schoenhut artist who plays with not one but two upright toy pianos each with it’s own unique sound. His comrade Kelley is a proud BC toy piano artist who plays on a two and a half octave baby grand. Unfortunately because of their own pride and hubris it has created a heavy rivalry in the group due to their concepts of what model is better. It should be noted that both were paid heavily by each company to say that theirs is better. They are currently in the process of planning their second show “The meme show”. pluckyplunkers.com

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Meet 2017 Toy Piano Festival Participant – Ruud Roelofsen

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dsc_0125-versie-3Biography
Ruud Roelofsen studied percussion in the conservatory of Arnhem, Münster (D) and Brussels (B). Ruud received masterclasses in composition with Dmitri Kourliandski, Carola Bauckholt, Richard Ayres and Martijn Padding. In 2013 he was selected for the “Young Composers Meeting” in Apeldoorn. „*In+” for tape was selected in the final round for the Luigi Russolo Award 2013. „Stare #1” is a winning piece in the MUSICAPOI competition in Italy in 2014. Ruud worked with ensembles like: 20o dans le noir (Fr), Kugoni Trio (B), Il Canto di Rame (NL), AtonalHits (USA), Parallel Asteroid (D), Orkest de Ereprijs (NL), Vers Ensemble (NL), Duo Wolke/Brülls (D) and also with renowned players like Lan Thanh Cao, Johan van der Linden, Tania Sikelianou,…

What sparked your interest in toy piano?
Someone in my working network asked for a piece, so I started to investigate and got interested.

What do you hope to achieve artistically or educationally from your participation in the festival?
It is quite a while ago when I wrote the piece. It would be interesting for me to go back to the piece again.

Professional Website
http://www.ruudroelofsen.nl/Ruud_Roelofsen/Home.html

Facebook – Artist Page
https://www.facebook.com/Ruud-Roelofsen-518725504836640/

Meet 2017 Toy Piano Festival Participant – Michael Boyd

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boyd_photo_2015Biography
Michael Boyd, Assistant Professor of Music at Chatham University, is a composer, scholar, and experimental improviser. His music embraces experimental practices such as installation, multimedia, and performance art, and has been performed in a variety of venues throughout the United States and abroad. Boyd has published articles in Perspectives of New Music, Tempo, and Notes. He is active in his community, currently serving a second elected term on the Wilkins Township Board of Commissioners. An active cyclist, Boyd often bikes to work and periodically competes in mountain bike races (and has the scars to prove the latter…).

What sparked your interest in toy piano?
Working with David Smooke and the League of the Unsound Sound a few years ago as well as hearing Phyllis Chen perform several years ago at a Clark University festival.

What do you hope to achieve artistically or educationally from your participation in the festival?
The festival has a very interesting group of featured performers – working with some of them would be very artistically rewarding. Since most of my music is variously indeterminate, every performance is a completely new experience.

Professional Website
http://www.societyofcomposers.org/members/MichaelBoyd/

Meet 2017 Toy Piano Festival Participant – Zachary Konick

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Biography
Zach Konick is a composer and percussionist, currently residing in Tampa, Florida. He recently graduated from the University of Maryland College Park, where he earned a Bachelor of Music degree in music composition. In his time at Maryland, Zach studied composition under the tutelage of Dr. Thomas DeLio and Mark Wilson, and studied percussion under Dr. Lee Hinkle and John Locke of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He performed drums and percussion for many musical theater performances and church services in and around the Metropolitan area. In his time at Maryland, Zach has achieved many honorable representations of his work, having received readings and performances by such notable ensembles as The Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (conducted by Oliver Knussen), the new Ear Ensemble, the JACK String Quartet, the Ethel String Quartet, and the Spektral String Quartet, as well as a performance of his marimba solo by Lee Hinkle. Zach also received the honor of studying under Roger Reynolds during a winter composition course at the University of California, Washington D.C. He is currently pursuing his Masters Degree at the University of South Florida in music composition, under Dr.Baljinder Sekhon and Paul Reller. He also currently enjoys playing percussion in the University of South Florida Percussion Ensemble under Robert McCormick. Zach hopes to go on to earn his Doctoral Degree in music composition with the aspiration of becoming a professor of music composition.

What sparked your interest in toy piano?
I have not considered actually composing for the toy piano until I discovered this festival as a unique opportunity. However, I was vaguely familiar with its growing use in classical contemporary literature, as popularized by John Cage. I found this piece to be a challenge to compose as the timbral quality of the toy piano is rather limiting and fairly unclear in pitch recognition. Yet, it cannot be ruled out as having its own unique quality that deserves attention from the musical community and through festivals like this one, it is continuing to gain significance in serious contemporary music literature.

What do you hope to achieve artistically or educationally from your participation in the festival?
As in any composition reading situation, I am always striving to hone my abilities in the composition process, both on and away from the manuscript paper. Interacting with performers who interpret my writings has always provided me an invaluable experience which has helped me grow as a musician. Further, composing for the toy piano was a new experience for me as well and I am very interested in hopefully seeing my creation realized by authentic, live instruments.

Meet 2017 Toy Piano Festival Participant – Stacey Barelos

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stacey-barelosBiography
As a pianist, Stacey Barelos specializes in the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, particularly the music of living composers. Her solo release, The Midwest American Piano Project, which features works by living composers with ties to the American Midwest, was released by Albany Records in 2008. The American Record Guide said “Stacey Barelos…plays with authority and poetic nuance, her beautiful tone captured vividly in this warm recording…” Regarding her performance of Henry Cowell’s Dynamic Motion and the Five Encores to Dynamic Motion, Gunther Schuller said, “It was by far the best performing of Cowell’s piano music I’ve heard in a half a century – or perhaps ever.”

Much of her research, dedicated to helping performers and teachers with the music of Henry Cowell, can be found on her website, http://www.cowellpiano.com. Her CD of piano music by Cowell was released by Centaur Records in 2012.

As a composer, Stacey’s works have been performed across the U.S. and in Europe and Australia. Recent premieres include thread, stitch, weave, bind for string ensemble inspired by the work of Sheila Hicks and showcased at the 2016 Omaha Under the Radar Festival and The Piano is Stressing Us Out written especially for the audience at her 2015 TEDx Omaha talk. Her works can be heard on the Albany and Blue Griffin labels.

Currently, Stacey teaches piano, theory and composition at the Omaha Conservatory of Music and is the Education Director for the Omaha Under the Radar Festival. For more information, see her website, http://www.staceybarelos.com.

What sparked your interest in toy piano?
I have been composing and playing new music for almost twenty years. One of my specializations is with the music of Henry Cowell, someone whom I believe would have a special kinship with the toy piano today. Cowell’s music and his approach to it include the same child-like wonder as much in the toy piano catalogue.

As a performer, I specialize in music with extended techniques or that incorporates other instruments such as percussion or voices. When I first started hearing serious toy piano music many years ago, I was intrigued. As it gained in popularity, I found myself continuing to come back to the sounds of the instrument, collecting everything I could find. Three years ago I decided to take a leap and purchase my first toy piano. It has been a labor of love ever since. While I am just beginning my toy piano career, I have commissioned three works and have received funding to compose my own set of toy piano pieces. The more I learn, the more I want to play. As I add more music (and more toy instruments!) to my repertoire, I am ecstatic to be a part of this movement and look forward to continue to contribute to the world of toy piano music.

What do you hope to achieve artistically or educationally from your participation in the festival?
As a toy pianist based in Omaha, Nebraska, I sometimes (okay, often) feel removed from the toy piano world. I hope to attend this festival and be immersed in all things toy piano and beyond.

First and foremost, I want to learn from specialists in the field. What are the trends in toy instrument music? What are people doing around the country and the world? What other repertoire is available? Who else is composing toy piano music?

Secondly, I hope to connect with other performers and composers. I am part of a team of women that run a new music festival in Omaha and would love to hear and see more about what this festival offers. Do we face similar challenges? What can I learn from your fabulous festival?

Lastly, this festival seems unlike any that I have attended in the past. While I have been to so many of the available new music festivals and conferences, this festival seems to offer not only a rare voice, with its focus on toy instruments, but also gives a voice to diversity, something often lacking in the new music world.

Professional Website
www.staceybarelos.com

Facebook – Artist Page

https://www.facebook.com/staceybarelos/

Meet 2017 Toy Piano Festival Participants – Fabio Luppi & Enrico Mignani

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img_1411Biography
Fabio Luppi, born in 1992 and graduated in piano, composition and chamber music with honors at Conservatory of Bologna and Enrico Mignani, born in 1997 and graduated in cello with honors at Conservatory of Bologna. They firstly performed together in Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire” for the project “The Shoenberg experience” (2012), performing twice at the Conservatory of Bologna and at the “Istituto musicale Jacopo Peri” of Reggio Emilia. As a duo (piano and cello) they performed in several concerts in Italy, for instance at the Foyer of Teatro Manzoni in Bologna, Oratorio di Santa Cecilia (Bologna), Ca’ la Ghironda (Zola Predosa), Artipelago Theatre (Rome), San Vigilio di Marebbe (Bolzano), Dobbiaco (Bolzano), Rocca di Vignola (Modene). As they are both composers, they sometimes write pieces to play in their concerts. They both have a collection of different kinds of toy pianos: they have in total 5 of them by different brands. Fabio has also written a suite for toy piano solo called “Pictures” which has been firstly performed by toy pianist Antonietta Loffredo. Both Enrico and Fabio collaborated with Antonietta writing pieces for orchestra or ensembles for the project “musicaalpresente”. They both won several national and international competitions as soloists or in ensemble. Fabio has published three works for “Ut Orpheus”, ArsPublica and Simon Verlag editions.

What sparked your interest in toy piano?
Fabio and Enrico were invited to write some pieces for toy piano after attending a concert by toy pianist Antonietta Loffredo. She explained them the timbral possibilities of this gracious instrument and the different types of toy pianos. They welcomed with enthusiasm this opportunity and noticed that the duo toy piano and cello worked very well, both in timbral aspects and in dynamic effects.

What do you hope to achieve artistically or educationally from your participation in the festival?
We would like to meet other people with our same interests and to spread our music for this ensemble, perhaps starting a collaboration between Bologna and Tampa Beach. This would be a very important experience for us to grow as musicians by collaborating with other colleagues.

Facebook – Artist Page
https://it-it.facebook.com/Gian-Paolo-Luppi-95698001378/

Meet 2017 Toy Piano Festival Participant – Alan Shockley

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Alan Shockley holds the Ph.D. in music composition from Princeton University. Shockley has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Atlantic Center, the Virginia Center for the Arts, Italy’s Centro Studi Ligure, and France’s Centre d’Art Marnay Art Centre (CAMAC), among others, and he has received grants from the American Music Center, Pittsburgh ProArts, the Mellon, and the Heinz Foundations.

His works have been performed at the International Society of Bassists Convention, the Composers Concordance Festival, Electronic Music Midwest, the American Choral Directors Association Conference, the Spark (Minneapolis), U3 (Pittsburgh), Montecito (California), and Frontiera (Pisa) festivals, and at the American Academy in Rome, the University of Cape Town, the Fondation des États-Unis in Paris, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, New York City’s Merkin Hall, Columbia University’s Miller Theater, and other locations around the globe, including performances in Berlin, Sydney, Stellenbosch, Oxford, Montreal, Maribor, Munich, Bucharest, Essen, Toronto, and Amsterdam, among many others. His electronic works have been installed in Jack Straw Studio’s New Media Gallery in Seattle, Minneapolis’ Weisman Art Museum (for a Bob Dylan exhibition), as part of the International Computer Music Conference, and in Brooklyn’s VertexList Gallery, as well as in other venues across both North America and Europe. His little white house (underpass to the foundation), 1 p.m. for nine player toy pianos formed a part of Trimpin’s installation klavier nonette.

His new study of extended techniques for piano, The Contemporary Piano (forthcoming from Rowman & Littlefield), includes a full chapter devoted to writing for the toy piano as well as extended techniques for the instrument. Shockley is an Associate Professor and the Director of Composition/Theory in the Bob Cole Conservatory at California State University, Long Beach.  

What sparked your interest in toy piano?
I acquired my first (of many) toy pianos almost 20 years ago, and have been playing and writing for the instrument ever since.  

What do you hope to achieve artistically or educationally from your participation in the festival?
I love the toy piano and hope to connect to other composers and performers who do, too. 

Professional Website
alanshockley.com