Phyllis Chen “Childhood Is A Curious Country” (Jerome Commission)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012. 8:00 pm

For toy piano, hacked toy piano, toy gong piano, music boxes and miniature objects.

Featuring Phyllis Chen premiering a coiled gong piano built by instrument-builder Ranjit Bhatnagar
Video Engineer/Artist: Robert Dietz

Praised by the New York Times for her “delightful quirkiness matched with interpretive sensitivity,” Phyllis is a pianist, toy pianist, composer that performs original multimedia compositions and works by contemporary composers. Tonight at Roulette, Phyllis premieres a new work, “Childhood Is A Curious Country”, for toy piano, hacked toy piano, toy gong piano, music boxes, and miniature objects.  The night will also include the NY premiere of a new micro-multimedia work, The Slumber Thief, by Phyllis and her partner, Rob Dietz. Commissioned by Opera Cabal’s OperaSHOP, The Slumber Thief conjures a minutely expressive dreamscape using  an array of sonic and visual oddities. Spinning off of many beloved fairy tales-gone-mad, the work evokes the minutely expressive fabric of an insomniac child’s unconscious, both fabulous and slightly terrifying. The Oregonian states, “her captivating performance was animated by unbridled inventiveness, the kind of joyous creativity that playing with toys is meant to inspire.” Playing an instrument that has no set boundaries or genre, Phyllis has been invited to perform at a large range of music festivals and venues such as the Chicago World Music Festival, Portland Piano International and the San Francisco Music for People and Thingamajigs Festival.  Phyllis is one of the founding members of the International Contemporary Ensemble where she was chosen as one of the inaugural 2011 ICElab composers, creating a cycle of chamber works using the toy piano as the central voice. Phyllis is also the founder of the  UnCaged Toy Piano, an annual call for scores to expand the repertoire for toy piano. This year, UnCaged launches the a Special Commissioning Project, searching for a new piece that will be premiered at the next toy piano festival in 2013.  Phyllis has two CD’s available for purchase from her website or itunes.

Phyllis Chen’s performance is made possible with support from Jerome Foundation.