Official Announcements

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

Meet 2017 Toy Piano Festival Participants – l’Artiste ordinaire

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l’Artiste ordinaire Photo by: Aleksandr Karjaka

Biography
Established in January 2016, l’Artiste ordinaire (l’Ao) is a collaborative partnership between composer-performers Melissa Grey and David Morneau that has launched electronic performances and Soft Series, a concert series dedicated to presenting soft premieres. Live electronic performances include 7^3 [M] (Benjolin synthesizer, Game Boy), Gadget Berry Dimple: A Glossary of False Translation (Benjolin, Merlin, Spoken Word) for Hans Tammen’s Rakete bee bee? Rakete bee zee! 100th Anniversary of Dada at Spectrum NYC, and Hyperlocal 2.0 for Thomas Piercy (Bass Clarinet, Sine Waves, Beats). l’Ao is developing Photon Ecstasy, a concert-length performance project that engages music, sound, and science fiction to address the hubris of certainty, which will premiere at the University of Pennsylvania Special Collections Library in conjunction with the exhibition of artist Dan Rose’s DNAPhoton Project (October 2016).  http://artisteordinaire.org

Composer Melissa Grey’s works have been described as “elegantly diabolical…strikingly eerie and captivating” (furtherfield.org). Her recent projects include blur (after blue hour), a kinetic score based on Renaissance combinatorial memory wheels, created for Payton MacDonald’s Sonic Divide project. She is currently developing a soundscape that will broadcast in the gallery space for the exhibition curated by artist Angela Grauerholz, Michèle Lemieux | The Whole and Its Parts, From drawing to animated films, to be shown at the Centre de design, Université du Québec à Montréal in September 2016. With artist and animator Nicole Antebi, she has ongoing animation-sound projects that include live performance and processing with Grey performing a vintage Merlin music machine: Procrustean Bed, composed for violinist Lynn Bechtold, premiered at the New West Electronic Arts and Music Organization Festival in San Diego; and Magic Square, a triple collaborative effort with Antebi and synthpop pioneer, Vince Clarke, premiered at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, New York. Grey is an Associate Director of Composers Concordance and a Member of the Board of Directors for Miolina, the violin duo of Lynn Bechtold and Mioi Takeda. She teaches Sound Studies at the School of Media Studies at The New School in New York City. http://melissagrey.net/

David Morneau is a composer of an entirely undecided genre. Described by Molly Sheridan as a “shining beacon” of inspiration, his diverse work illuminates ideas about our culture, issues concerning creativity, and even the very nature of music itself. His eclectic output has been described variously as “elegantly rendered”, “happily prissy”, “impressive”, “unusual, esoteric, and offbeat”. His chiptune album, Broken Memory, “absolutely wrecks shop.… For that, David Morneau wins.” His current projects include Not Less Than the Good, a secularized morning prayer service based on Henry Thoreau’s Walden, which is being composed for New Thread Quartet (a New York based saxophone ensemble) and will include field recordings made at Walden Pond and read excerpts from Thoreau’s book; and Vintage Machines, a series of pieces utilizing vintage video game systems to make music. Morneau is composer-in-residence with Immigrant Breast Nest, a New York City netlabel. http://5of4.com

What sparked your interest in toy piano?
We are interested in Elizabeth’s relationship to the toy piano. She has written that her “obsession” with this instrument is rooted in her ability to connect it to electronics and “create massive walls of sound that are completely unexpected from such a tiny instrument.” As she explored the possibilities inherent in her approach she realized that “our eyes create a judgment of how a particular object should sound. When that object fails to live up to our expectations, it is unexpected… it plays with our emotions…. It is another secret garden an unexpected oasis that one did not even know they were craving.” This echoes the experiences that we have had while discovering how to make music with our own sound-making toys. Melissa performs using a vintage Merlin handheld computer game, set to music machine mode. As a child, she played with a Merlin for many long hours, drawn into the sonic world it offered. Recently reconnected with a Merlin, Melissa has been exploring new possibilities for creating music. The addition of an audio-output jack that connects the Merlin to her laptop and a volume control allows her to develop original performance techniques, transforming Merlin from a toy to a generator of new sonic worlds. David performs using an original Nintendo Game Boy. His interest in this object is rooted in his love of video games as a child, and his delight at the subversion of the technology in order to make music. His explorations are motivated by the sense of surprise that can be found within the constraints of this technology. He strives to create sounds that defy everyone’s expectations of what the Nintendo Game Boy can be, even die-hard chiptune aficionados.

What do you hope to achieve artistically or educationally from your participation in the festival?
With Photon Ecstasy, we are building a catalog of sonic messages, broadcast to the distant star systems in the Milky Way galaxy. Certain broadcasts will require additional sound specialists to work alongside l’Ao technicians. Our broadcast to DP Leonis b will be strengthened and will achieve a higher likelihood of success with the inclusion of Elizabeth A. Baker. She will be able to create vibrations naturally sympathetic to the constellation Leo–in which the star system DP Leonis is aligned. Our goal for broadcasting with Ms. Baker for the 2017 Florida International Toy Piano Festival is to align our vibrations with hers so that we can all exist in the same sonic world for just a little while.

Professional Website
http://artisteordinaire.org/

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/artiste.ordinaire/