This past year, I hosted the first UnCaged Toy Piano Competition, a composition contest for toy pianos and electronics. This was the first time I hosted and judged a competition. We received over fifty entries from the US, Germany, Croatia, Australia, Mexico, Japan, Norway and Italy. We were thrilled with the general turn out! It was difficult to judge because all of the pieces are so different from one another.
Though he was not technically named a “winner,” I was pretty charmed by Ross Manning’s piece “Rotation” for toy piano and electric fan. It is more like an invention than a piece. The insides of the toy piano are exposed and a heavy rope lies across the toy piano beams. The rope is attached to a fan, so when you turn on the fan, the rope jumps and bounces around on the metal rods. This creates a pretty alien and unpredictable sound effect. The piece can be played as long or short as desired. “Rotation” will be set up as an installation for the UnCaged Winners concert in September. (more details soon)
Ross is from Australia and a member of the Clatterbox. I found him on their website for inventing the bass toy piano. Read and listen to it at the Clatterbox website.