The UNCAGED TOY PIANO
Composition Competition for toy piano and electronics
The goal of the competition is to expand the repertoire for toy piano and electronics.
The toy piano is a 3-octave instrument made of plastic hammers and metal rods. Invented in the early 1900’s, the toy piano has yet to be discovered for all of its charms by many composers. Due to the quirkiness of the tuning and limitation of range, the electro-acoustic hybrid of toy piano and electronics is a fertile new medium.
The competition is seeking:
1. works for solo performer with multiple toy pianos
2. works that use interactive computer electronics with toy piano(s)
3. works that utilize microphones and amplifiers with toy piano(s)
4. works with either pre-recorded or interactive multimedia/video (strongly encouraged)
5. works that use computer-based alternate controllers with toy piano(s)
6. solo toy piano music
The top five pieces will be performed by Phyllis Chen in New York City. The top three selections will be awarded cash prizes of the following:
1st place $300 & a Concert-Grand toy piano generously donated by Schoenhut
2nd place $200
3rd place $100
Phyllis Chen, toy pianist
Andre Watts, Grammy-award winning pianist
Rob Dietz, video artist and electronic musician
Norbert Herber, Professor of Telecommunications at Indiana University
To get better acquainted with the toy piano, please listen to Phyllis’s toy piano recital at
Phyllis owns a collection of 7 toy pianos with a range between 2- 3 octaves. Please specify what range of instrument you would like to be considered for your piece.
There will be a stereo and quadraphonic sound system playback for the electronic components. There is no specification of software programs or technologies that are required. Please indicate the platform/program and we will contact you with further questions if necessary.