Praised by the New York Times for her “delightful quirkiness matched with interpretive sensitivity,” Phyllis is a pianist,toy pianist and composer who performs original multi-media compositions and works by contemporary composers. The LA Times simply states, “she is a bold pianist with an excellent sense of color.” Playing an instrument that has no set boundaries or genre, Phyllis’ artistic pursuits has taken her in numerous directions leading to her selection as a New Music/New Places Fellow at the 2007 Concert Artist Guild International Competition.
From world music festivals, international piano festivals, public art projects like Theatre for One or being the solo musician on the Off-Broadway production of Coraline, Phyllis has been invited to perform in a large variety of contexts in the US and abroad.
Phyllis is one of the founding members of ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), a New York-based collective dedicated to the performance and promotion of new works. Phyllis was selected as one of the composer/artist for the inaugural ICElab Series, a model for commissioning, developing and performing new music by nurturing the essential composer-performer collaboration. Her ICElab works were performed at the 2013 Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Atlas Performing Arts, (DC) and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Phyllis was also the recipient of the 2012 Roulette/Jerome Commission and one of twelve composers-recipients of the 2012 Fromm Music Foundation. Recent commissions included a film score to Hans Richter’s silent film Everything Turns Everything Revolves, that was premiered at the LA County Museum of Art, a duo for toy piano and mandolin for Jen Curtis, and a new work for Boston’s string chamber ensemble, A Far Cry, to be premiered in the Spring of 2014.
A strong interest in interdisciplinary work led her to collaborations with video artist and electronic musician Rob Dietz with whom she created multimedia works such as Looking Glass ReWondered, The Memoirist, Pearlessence, Chroma, Carousels, and most recently, The Slumber Thief, a 2012 commissioned work by Opera Cabal’s Opera Shop program.
Phyllis founded the UnCaged Toy Piano, a composition competition to further expand the repertoire for toy piano. The Chicago Reader says that Phyllis has “become one of the world’s leading proponents of the toy piano.” The competition has received works from composers all around the world and these compositions become an integral part of her repertoire. In 2013, Phyllis hosted the 2nd three-day UnCaged Toy Piano Festival in New York City, inviting 10 different artists in three different venues. To find out more about the call for scores, please visit uncagedtoypiano.org
Phyllis attended Oberlin Conservatory as a recipient of the Dean’s Talent Award Scholarship and received a Masters Degree from Northwestern University as an Eckstein Merit Scholar. She is finishing her DMA in piano performance at Indiana University where she studied with André Watts. Phyllis just released her third solo toy piano album, Little Things, on New Focus Recordings.