Toy Piano: Love at First Sound

Posted on March 1, 2010. Filed under: Astoria, Local718 Video Shorts, Music & Dance, Off the beaten path | Tags: , , |

While visiting the quiet town of Milford, Pennsylvania, I was invited to a piano concert at the local high school. Little did I know that the featured musician, Phyllis Chen, was a fellow Astorian herself. After the concert I spoke with the uniquely talented pianist who not only plays the standard piano, but the toy piano as well. Her gift for music is truly extraordinary. In this video, she takes you through an invention of new sounds, through her collection of various toy pianos, and found instruments, and through the process of altering the basic tune of the modern piano.

Music in this video includes the following pieces composed by Phyllis Chen– Hallucinate (for toy piano & bowls), Carousel (for music box and toy piano), and Toroko (for music box). On the grand piano she plays a piece composed by John CageThe Perilous Night.

Listen to her full debut CD UnCaged Toy Piano which is also the name of her composition competition that she founded to “…further expand the repertoire for toy piano and electronics.”

Be sure to check out Phyllis live in concert- 

April 3, 2010: Music For Autism at the 92nd St Y 1 Pm

April 11,2010: Barbés in Brooklyn, NY

April 21 Baby Grand in Chinatown, NY


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6 Responses to “Toy Piano: Love at First Sound”

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While I am not yet a toy pianist, it was love at first hearing when I heard one played with serious, though playful, intent. Which is why I bought a 37-key one in the grand piano style, and started taking piano lessons about a year ago.

And it is why I will be at your April 14 concert at Algonquin Theater.
I have visited your website and I would like to congratulate you on building such a valuable online resource. I am sure your visitors find your site as useful as I did.

Have a great day.

Thanks and regards,

Rhea S.

great story, really interesting music, really enjoyed it. it does sound like a gamelan!

That was lovely.

Thanks for watching Beth. I was captivated the first time I saw her play and I still am!

Such beautiful music! Now I think I have to check out one of her concerts next month.

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