Saint Petersburg

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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.


Our Town – A Moving Dance Tour of St. Pete

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Our Town postcard FINALWe are excited to partner with the St. Petersburg Dance Alliance to present this wonderful event as part of St. Petersburg Arts Festival this month! Two of the works employ new original music by local composers Elizabeth A. Baker and Sean Hamilton.


Our Town: A Moving Dance Tour of St. Pete
A project of the St. Pete Dance Alliance and Dance Linkages

September 17, 2017 @ 6:00p

Shuffleboard Courts, and various locations in downtown St. Pete


Our Town is a curated series of original, short, site-specific dance performances that occur in and near multiple historic and iconic locations throughout downtown St. Pete. This performance is presented as part of the SPFestival 16. The audience travels from piece to piece, on a guided, walking tour that begins at the Shuffleboard Courts and ends in the Mural Alley along 6th and 7th Streets. Choreographers include Helen Hansen French, Kellie Harmon, and Andee Scott of the St. Pete Dance Alliance, in addition to Elsa Valbuena, Erin Cardinal, and Alex Jones. Additional collaborators include the New Music Conflagration, with an original music composition by Elizabeth Baker that will be downloaded onto smartphones by audience members on site.

This unique evening of dance performances blends dance, music, art, architecture, and technology, creating moving public art in and around iconic and historic sites in our beautiful city. Produced by the St. Petersburg Dance Alliance and Dance Linkages, with support from the St. Pete Arts Alliance and Creative Pinellas, Our Town invites the audience to engage with dance and their city in new ways.

Our Town begins at the Shuffleboard Courts and additional sites include outside the Mirror Lake Library, Face the Jury, the open-air Post Office, Cycle Brewing, and the mural alley.

Producer: St. Petersburg Dance Alliance and Dance Linkages
Concept and Direction: Andee Scott
Contact:   Andee Scott and Helen Hansen French


Olivia Kieffer – Composer-In-Residence – 2017 Florida International Toy Piano Festival

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KiefferToyPianoThe New Music Conflagration, Inc. is proud to announce that Olivia Kieffer will be our Composer-In-Residence for the 2017 Florida International Toy Piano Festival. You may remember Olivia as a participant at the inaugural festival in January 2016, and since that time Olivia has done a great deal to further integrate toy piano into her compositional process as well as her performance practice. In addition to her own residency goals, Olivia will be working closely with local music students to create a series of new works to be premiered during the festival but will also, teach the children about the process of creating a work and seeing it through production. The New Music Conflagration, Inc. is excited about this invaluable opportunity for area students to work with and be inspired by another world class musician!

Olivia Kieffer is a composer, percussionist, and educator from Wisconsin. She is an active performer and composer in Atlanta’s New Music scene, and has been hailed as “A vibrant, energetic, and passionate” musician. She performs with with the Terminus Ensemble, Bent Frequency,  amplified toy piano trio (tink tink tink), sax/percussion duo Bonebreaker, and is composer/bandleader/drummer for the 7-piece chamber rock group Clibber Jones Ensemble. 

She is Percussion Instructor at Reinhardt University, where she teaches Applied Lessons and a variety of music classes, in addition to directing the Reinhardt University Percussion Ensemble. Her degrees in Percussion Performance are from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where she studied with the Allen Otte of the Percussion Group Cincinnati, and Georgia State University with Stockhausen specialist and New Music champion Stuart Gerber. 

She feels at home in both the classical and rock worlds, and can be heard as composer or performer (or both!) on recordings by Amy O’Dell, the Georgia Brass Band, Tay0, GremlinsDuo, and Clibber Jones Ensemble.  She is on the Board of Directors at Eyedrum Music & Art Gallery. Olivia’s compositions and projects have been highlighted in ArtsAtl, TomTom Magazine, the Atlanta Creative Music podcast, the A/B Duo blog, New Music Conflagration, Music, Polyphony, and Polyrhythm, listening to ladies, Composer’s Circle, and WABE (90.1FM). 

Keyboards in all their varieties are her favorite instruments to compose for, which has flourished during her time working closely with composer and pianist William Susman. Her most recent project is “The Texture of Activity”, a book of 55 toy piano miniatures, each one dedicated to a friend. Her obsession with the toy piano as both an instrument and a compositional tool grew during the period of writing these pieces. She arranged 10 of the “Texture of Activity” pieces into a book of progressively difficult vibraphone solos, called “10 Short Pieces for Solo Vibraphone.” Olivia’s music has been called “honest, to the point, and joyful!”