Schoenhut Piano Company
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gallery of stars
artist roster

spc artist roster

Toy Piano Performers, International
Check out Toy Piano Performers on Facebook, a network of toy piano composers, performers, and fans.

Although parents and grandparents comprise a significant customer base, orders from professional musicians increase each year. Since John Cage wrote "Suite for Toy Piano" in 1948, more and more composers are turning out substantial pieces for an increasing number of performers.

We are delighted to be "in tune" with those who regard Schoenhut toy pianos as serious concert instruments, attesting to the high quality of our products. This roster is a sample of professionals who promote music to an advanced dimension.
Paula Bobb, United States

Paula received a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and MM from the New England Conservatory of Music. She is active as a soloist, accompanist, chamber musician, and has been a member of the faculty at Hochstein Music School since 1986. A piano teacher for many years, she offers a number of innovative and creative approaches for all ages including playshops for children and adults, individual and partner lessons, and a Piano Kindergarten for Grown-Ups™.

"Toy pianos do not supplant my love for the piano. They are a welcome balance and a reminder of the joy of playing, in all its meanings. In using them for teaching beginning groups of children or adults I wish to give others the opportunity to connect with their playful inner child with simplicity and delight..."
John Cage, United States
Wikipedia - John Cage
Bard College Press Releases

September 5, 1912 - August 12, 1992

The first "key" player who composed music geared toward toy pianos. John Cage was an American composer, philosopher, poet, music theorist, artist, printmaker, and amateur mycologist. A pioneer of chance music, electronic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, he was a leading figure of the post-war avant-garde, initiating a new trend in music. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential American composers of the 20th century.

The John Cage Trust (JCT), an organization created to oversee the use of the published and unpublished work of one of the 20th-century's most important composers, writers, and artists, has become a permanent resident organization at Bard College
Wendy Mae Chambers, United States

Wendy Mae Chambers, one of the earliest toy piano performers, is well known for the scope and originality of her works, typified by large and unusual instrumental combinations. As a toy pianist, she has made numerous appearances on national TV, radio, and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

In April of 2009, Wendy created “Kun” in collaboration with Schoenhut Piano Company, 64 Toy Pianos at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, Florida. Kun musically represents the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching, the ancient Chinese book of divination that was also used by avant-garde composer John Cage. The performance featured 64 musicians performing on 32 white and 32 black Schoenhut toy pianos placed in pairs throughout the gardens, representing the yin/yang formation.
Phyllis Chen, United States

Many people have asked me how I came to play the toy piano. Contrary to what it might seem, I started playing classical piano at the age of five and found the toy piano when I was 21. I was always interested in exploring new sounds and unconventional piano techniques, but my journey with the toy piano was plunged forth by an unexpected happening in my life. Read more here...
Stephanie Chua, Canada

Stephanie has an Artist Diploma from the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music from the University of Toronto. An avid interest in unusual music and sounds led her to the toy piano, a venue in which she is always looking for new repertoire and new ways to entice the public with this charming instrument. Her arsenal of toy pianos includes a 37-key grand piano, a vintage 1940 spinet, an antique 1900 two-octave Schoenhut, and a vintage Kussan Katheral Chimes piano.

Stephanie has performed solo in dozens of Canadian and world premieres; is also is a member of junctQin, a group of three that includes Elaine Lau and Joseph Ferretti. (photo) She is grateful to Schoenhut Piano Company for their sponsorship of her various projects.
Katelyn Clark, Canada

Award-winning harpsichordist Katelyn Clark enjoys a vibrant career in historical performance and experimental music. She completed training in modern piano and accompanying at the University of Montreal and harpsichord studies in Victoria and Vancouver; then pursued a Masters degree at the Amsterdam Conservatory with world-renowned harpsichordist and pedagogue, Bob van Asperen.

Katelyn discovered the intrigue of toy pianos while researching Baroque toys and mechanical instruments. Her first toy piano purchase was a wooden unmarked model dating from the early 20th century. Additional acquired instruments include a vintage 8-note Schoenhut upright, circa 1910, and a modern Schoenhut baby grand. Katelyn has performed as a toy piano musician in Canada, the USA, and Europe. Her most notable piece of repertoire is "zin lye" by Eric km Clark for amplified toy piano.
George Crumb, Ph.D, United States

An American composer of modern and avant-garde music, George Crumb is noted as an explorer of unusual timbres and extended technique. He uses instruments such as toy pianos, musical saws, amplified instruments and even a "glass harmonica" in a serious piece of music, making music with them that so reflects nature, that during a performance, one might think they are hearing what it would sound like to pour an ocean or build a blade of grass from scratch.

He is the recipient of a number of awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1968 for his orchestral work Echoes of Time and the River and a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Composition in 2001 for his work Star-Child.
Alexandra Lugten (Alexa Dexa), United States

A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Alexa is best known for her indie electro-pop-tronic concoctions; a blend of vocals, poignant lyrics with catchy hooks, haunting melodies, and dance-worthy beats. Her arsenal of toy instruments includes a wide range of eclectic accessories including bells, whistles, and bubbles. The most prized members of her 'toychestra' are a 37-key Schoenhut spinet along with 13 pitched desk bells.

The Schoenhut spinet is Alexa's primary instrument for self-accompaniment in an electronic solo project consisting of her vocals, hand-crafted electronic beats, and parts created for the toychestra. She performs regularly around NYC and Brooklyn indie music venues and participated in Wendy Mae Chamber's KUN for the city-wide "Make Music NY Festival" in June 2012. Alexa states: "I am enthralled with the irony and perspective produced when I perform a lyrically and compositionally mature piece on the innately childish and affable Schoenhut toy piano."
Tzenka Dianova, Ph.D, Canada

Since making her debut as a musician at age five, Tzenka has become a world renowned, award-winning concert pianist specializing in the performance of 20th century and contemporary music. A teacher, performer, and author ("John Cage's Prepared Piano: The Nuts and Bolts"), she has recorded pieces for piano and orchestra, as well as a solo CD. Improvising, transcribing, and experimenting with "prepared piano," Tzenka collaborates with illustrious composers such as Karlheinz Essl.

"My toy pianos are amongst my most prized possessions — first came the Schoenhut baby-grand, then a vintage Jaymar, last a delightful doll-sized (yet full three-octave chromatic) Japanese mini-grand. I love them all!"
Shiau-uen Ding, United States

A native of Taiwan, pianist Shiau-uen Ding is a rising presence on the new and electro-acoustic music scenes, and an original and energetic performer of traditional solo and chamber repertoire. She has performed in France, Germany, China, and throughout the US and Taiwan. Her virtuosic and sensitive interpretations win standing ovations.

"The attached photo was taken during my performance of German composer Moritz Eggert's One Man Band 2, in October, 2009, at Sizihwan Art Festival in Taiwan. And the toy piano is, as you pointed out, Schoenhut's My First Piano!"
Moritz Eggert, Germany
YouTube - One Man Band

Moritz has studied piano and composition in Munich, Frankfurt, and London. In 1992, he received a master class diploma and enrolled in postgraduate studies at the Guildhall School for Music and Drama in London. As a pianist he regularly collaborates with other artists, performs as soloist with orchestra, is a chamber music partner in various formations, and a Lied accompanist. Moritz has covered many genres in his oeuvre which includes several large operas and works for dance and music theatre that often contain unusual performance elements. He has written music for the World Cup 2006, the Viennese Opera Ball and is the only composer in Germany who had his works mentioned on both the normal news and sports news. His pieces often include unusual elements, like the use of helicopters in De Avaritia. Moritz has received many composition and performance awards and has been awarded memberships for the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts and the Mainz Academy of Sciences, Literature and music. He teaches composition as a professor at the Munich University for Music and Theatre.

"Since I bought a new larger - of course red - bag I am able to carry my Schoenhut toy piano all over the world. So far it has accompanied me to the wildest places, and it has always been a good and reliable travel companion. The biggest problem is to convince my little son - age 3 - to part with his beloved instrument when dad needs it again for one of his performances. Such is the power of Schoenhut!"
Karlheinz Essl, Ph.D, Austria

Composer, performer, improviser, media artist, author, and composition teacher, Dr. Essl is professor of composition for electro-acoustic and experimental music at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts.

Karlheinz composed his first toy piano piece in 2005 called Kalimba. The extensive list of compositions he has written for the toy piano appears on his website, along with videos of venues where these pieces have been played.
Isabel Ettenauer, Austria

What started as a project in 2001 soon turned into a main focus in the work of this young pianist: performing on toy pianos. Since then, Isabel Ettenauer has become recognized as one of the leading lights amongst professional artists in today's new music scene.

The joy and love she expresses while playing exceptionally innovative compositions hold her international audiences spellbound.
Jason Farnham, United States

An award-winning performer, composer, and song writer, Jason's classical piano training began at age four. While in high school and during college at Ohio University, he crafted a signature style of music. Based on his comical presentations, interaction with audiences, and playing a Schoenhut toy piano, fans compare him to both "Schroeder from Peanuts and Victor Borge. Jason's spectacular show sampler includes "An Evening of Contemporary Piano," along with special Valentine and Christmas performances which never fail to delight audiences throughout the United States.

Between concerts, Jason composes music for film and TV at his studio in Santa Rosa, California. He has received a number of credits including a Platinum Remi Award at the 2011 Houston International Film Festival for a comedy short film "You Are What You Eat." His licensed piano and electronic music is used in public service announcements, promos, and election campaigns.
Tom Flaherty, United States

A composer, professor of music, and avid cellist, Tom's compositions have been performed extensively throughout Europe and North America by noted professional artists and ensembles. His music is recorded on the Albany. Klavier, Bridge, SEAMUS, Capstone, and Advance labels. He has received grants, prizes, awards, and residencies from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, American Music Center, the Pasadena Arts Council, the Massachusetts Council for the Arts and Humanities, the Delius Society, the University of Southern California, "Meet the Composer," and Yaddo.

"I've always loved the sound of Schoenhut pianos and only recently began to compose for it. The tasty ambiguity of octave placement in single notes was the inspiration for 'Shepard's Pi'." YouTube -Tom Flaherty Shepard's Pi for toy piano and electronics.
Matt "Fleck" Fleckenstein, United States

Since graduating with a Bachelors in Music Education from the University of New Hampshire, one of Fleck's significant professional achievements is completing the intensive certification requirements for becoming a Registered Piano Technician. He is also a proficient solo pianist and member of a jazz combo. Further expanding his horizons, Fleck recently debuted as a (very amusing) ventriloquist. Since acquiring a 25-key My First Piano, this small instrument has been incorporated into a puppet routine.

Fleck's main instrument of choice is a Schoenhut 49-key stringed piano that he transports to gigs in a hatchback. At the time of purchasing this half-sized "real" piano, he understood the limitations of using such a small-scaled instrument. Not having been able to find an electric version to meet his standards of touch and sound, however, decided to give it a try. "... I have been very pleased with this instrument. With minor voicing, it sounds pretty darn good. ... I normally play un-amplified with an acoustic bass, drums... and for restaurant settings, this has been perfect! Considering that this instrument is constantly being tipped on edge, lugged around in a car, and stored in an un-insulated garage, the tuning holds remarkably well. (I will note that I do tune it before every gig, but it usually just requires a quick touch-up.)"
Erik Griswold, Ph. D, Australia

Eclectic Australian-American musician Erik Griswold fuses experimental, jazz, and world music traditions to create works of striking originality. Specializing in prepared piano, percussion and toy instruments, he collaborates with musicians from diverse backgrounds as well as visual artists and writers.

Erik leads international tours of The Wide Alley (a 10-piece ensemble of Chinese and Australian musicians) and Clocked Out Duo, of which he is Director. His composition "Old MacDonald's Yellow Submarine" was played recently at Carnegie Hall by noted toy pianist Margaret Leng Tan.
David Harrington, United States

David is entering his fourth decade as a professional musician. Founder, artistic director and first violinist of the award-winning Kronos Quartet, his group has changed the perception of what a string quartet can be. In a recent concert at Carnegie Hall “Playing with Toys & Technology” Kronos revisited the joy in discovering new sounds through a program that focused on unlikely sources such as toy piano, wood block, bicycle bell and horn, and train whistle.

An exciting initiative that the group initiated is the "Kronos: Under 30 Project," a unique composer-in-residence program for composers under 30 years old, launched in conjunction with Kronos' own 30th birthday in 2003. By cultivating creative relationships with such emerging talents and a wealth of other artists from around the world, Kronos provides the benefit of 30 years' wisdom while maintaining a fresh approach to music-making inspired by a new generation of composers and performers.
HOCKET, United States

HOCKET founders Sarah Gibson and Thomas Kotcheff, based in Los Angeles, are dedicated to commissioning and performing contemporary music. They have premiered dozens of chamber piano works and collaborated with noted performers and groups such as the chamber ensemble eighth blackbird and David Smooke, a long-standing member of Schoenhut's Artist Roster.

Amidst programming repertoire for two-pianos and piano four-hands, Sarah and Thomas began exploring alternative keyboard instruments. The distinct and lovely sounds produced by toy pianos prompted the incorporation of these unique instruments (specifically, two Schoenhut 37-Key Concert Grands) into their repertoire. HOCKET's upcoming performance schedule includes innovative interpretations that stunningly portray the beauty and intricacies of toy piano music.
Jennifer Hymer, Germany

Interested in unusual and unique sonic possibilities for the piano, pianist Jennifer Hymer specializes in a repertoire for piano and multimedia and extended techniques, as well as being a performer of the toy piano and kalimba. She began playing the Schoenhut 37-key grand in her 'Piano, Toy Piano, Kalimba & Gadgets' project in 2006, which premiered in the Laeiszhalle, Hamburg. Her solo CD 'Ceci n'est pas un piano' includes toy piano pieces written for her and the Schoenhut grand by composers Manfred Stahnke and Georg Hajdu.

She and composer Georg Hajdu are co-founders of WireWorks, an electro-acoustic ensemble for acoustic instruments, voice and electronics.

"The photo was taken as I played a Schoenhut 37-key concert grand in Santa Barbara as balloons from Annea Lockwood's piece 'Gone' floated over the piano."
Jeff Klingfuss, United States

Jeff Klingfuss is an organist for two churches in Mississippi. His use of toy piano music during infant baptisms has been wildly popular, resulting in requests to perform at many special events. A representative liturgy for baptism that he uses includes an Erik Satie piece as a prelude, another Satie during the offertory, and for the postlude a rhythmic march gleaned from the Library of Congress circa 1880 that relates to the historic past of the church.

In 2006, after completing training for LPM (a "Leadership Program for Parish Musicians of Small Parishes"), Jeff was granted the Presiding Bishop’s Certificate in Church Music & Liturgy On-going projects include: developing a ‘collection’ of music for toy piano appropriate for liturgical use from the vast repertoire of related music from the 15th to the 20th century; and experimenting with the toy piano as a type of zimbelstern, using a Schoenhut to single out a solo line while playing the rest on the organ. He is also involved with a program for a diocese in England to implement musician training in the UK. Jeff continues to refine toy piano use in liturgical settings, the repertoire based on historical and copyright free music sources. As a result of his work with churches and the community, he was presented with a Volunteer Service Award by President Obama in 2009.
Elaine Lau, Canada

A college professor, music coach, keyboardist, soloist, and collaborative artist, Elaine has an avid interest in contemporary repertoire music for toy, solo and duo piano, She is active in premiering new works for these mediums. Her diversified background includes: coach and repetiteur for the Opera Theatre of Lucca, Italy; collaborative performing pianist for the Glenn Gould School and the Young Artist Performance Academy at the Royal Conservatory of Music; and she is the founding member of junctQín, a keyboard collective of three devoted to performing new music.

"This picture was taken during my performance of Moritz Eggert's One Man Band 2 at the Canadian Opera Company's Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre in Toronto, Canada. The trusty 25-key toy spinet in this photo has starred in multiple performances of the piece, and was originally one of several instruments generously co-sponsored by Schoenhut for an improvisation/concert outreach workshop held at the spOtlight Festival in 2009. I am delighted to have it as a part of my collection of Schoenhut toy pianos, which originally started with a 30-key baby grand purchased several years ago. The sounds of these wonderful instruments continue to intrigue and captivate listeners wherever they are heard."
Antonietta Loffredo, Italy

Antonietta Loffredo obtained a diploma in piano studies from the Verona Conservatoire of Music and the Conservatoire of Issy les Moulineaux (France). She has also conducted studies in a teaching, educational and musicological context at the Cremona School of Musical Paleography and Phi-lology, Pavia University and Milan University.

She has performed as a soloist, in chamber ensembles and with orchestras in Italy, France, Germany, Rumania, Spain, Israel and Australia. Particularly interested in the new musical languages, she has been asked to hold workshops and lectures ("Giuseppe Tartini" Conservatoire of Trieste, Con-servatorio Profesional de Música "Teresa Berganza" of Madrid, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, 28th and 29th World Conference of the International Society for Music Education, Australian International Conservatorium of Music, University of New South Wales of Sydney) and contributes to specialised magazines in the music sector.

Her research in the area of vanguard music includes concert programs dedicated to the toy piano. In these concerts Antonietta plays a 37 key Concert Grand Piano and a 25 key Traditional Spinet, both produced by Schoenhut. Her repertoire ranges from the 1900 vanguard to contemporary classical music, showing the increasing interest in this fascinating instrument.
Adam Marks, United States

Praised by the New York Times as an "excellent pianist with titanic force," Adam combines a commitment to contemporary music with innovative programming designed to reach new audiences of all types. He performs extensively throughout the United States, as well as Europe. His accolades include being the first American laureate of the Orleans Competition for music composed since 1900 in Orleans, France. As an educator, he has presented guest lectures and masterclasses at a number of prestigious colleges and universities.

The pianist and Director of Artistic Programming for Chicago’s Fifth House Ensemble, he designs and presents programs for concert stages, cultural institutions, and educational facilities. Adam frequently collaborates with notable musicians such as mezzo-soprano Jennifer Beattie, graphic novelist Ezra Claytan Daniels, among many others.
Pascal Meyer, The Netherlands

An internationally acclaimed piano solist, Pascal also plays a duo with dutch violinist Anne-Marie Volten, is part of the czech/luxemburg ALEA Piano Trio, performs with Xenia Pestova in the Pestova/Meyer Piano Duo, and is a member of the Luxemburg-based modern music ensemble United Instruments of Lucilin. He has twice been a Gold Medal prizewinner in the Luxemburgish National Competition For Young Soloists. Pascal plays pieces such as Karlheinz Essl's legendary "Kalimba" on a Schoenhut baby grand.

"It's probably a cliché to say that the first piece I played on toy piano was John Cage's Suite for toy piano...Unfortunately I didn't have a Schoenhut back then. A few years later I played George Crumb's River of Life in the percussion quartet I played with, ordered a baby grand from Schoenhut so I could have a decent instrument with the required range. That's when I realized you could actually make music on these little things! The audience loved it....."
Jonathan Wayne Mills, Ph. D, United States

Jonathan is a professor of Music Informatics and Computing at Indiana University, Bloomington. His interest in analog computing and music cognition led him to begin composing and performing with analog synthesizers in 2006. Since then, Jonathan has recorded over 70 albums of improvised thematic music on diverse topics, exploring and incorporating microtonal music, audio-MIDI feedback, and aleatoric music based on casting runes.

After acquiring a 37-key Schoenhut Concert Grand in late 2011, Jonathan states "acoustic is the ultimate analog." He recently added a 44-key Schoenhut Pro Baby Grand, a 37-key spinet, and a six-key Schoenhut toy piano manufactured circa 1900. "Their beautiful timbres, their delicate keyboard touch, and the joyful, sparkling ambience of the musical space" inspired his current project, Tales from beyond the Event Horizon—Four Fairy Tales for the Toy Piano. He also created an album of toy piano compositions,Not A Steinway, a collection of 17 toy piano pieces from seven albums; and recently re-scored 6'33'', a fugue that embeds John Cage's 4'33'', for solo toy piano and toy piano ensemble which premiered at Indianapolis' historic Irving Theatre.
Monica Pearce, Canada

Monica Pearce, composer of contemporary music, has an affinity for solo and chamber music, opera, and musical theatre. Her work is widely performed by groups such as the Array Ensemble, TorQ Percussion Quartet, junctQín keyboard collective, Thin Edge New Music Collective, Essential Opera and Bicycle Opera Project. The acquisition of a toy piano from Craigslist in 2008 led to her founding Toy Piano Composers with colleague Chris Thornborrow, a composer collective group that presents new works by emerging musicians. Whimsical performances featuring a variety of instruments demonstrate the group's innovation, humour, and spirited imagination.

Monica has received many awards for her compositions, and is actively involved in the leadership of several Canada-based music organizations.
Xenia Pestova, Ph. D, Canada

"I first fell in love with the Schoenhut toy pianos when I heard a recording of Karlheinz Essl's 'Kalimba' played by my colleague Isabel Ettenauer. I immediately ordered my first toy piano: a white Schoenhut model 379 baby grand with an opening lid, exactly the one required to play the piece (the performer is required to hide small loudspeakers inside the instrument!).

Since then, I have premiered many new works for toy piano and played multiple Schoenhut instruments in very diverse locations that include concert halls from Brazil to Canada, alternative loft spaces coast to coast in the US, and even a remote cave site in Ontario. Every time I sit down to play one of my toy pianos, I feel immense relaxation and joy flowing through me - the instrument itself inspires us to smile and invites us to take ourselves less seriously. I am very excited to be part of the Schoenhut artist roster, and am happy to continue sharing the instruments' distinct sound with my audiences."
Eliza Rickman, United States

ELIZA RICKMAN is a singer, songwriter, and pianist who lives and performs in California. She discovered the piano at age eight, pounding away at a 120-year-old piano inherited from her grandfather. Eliza went on to study classical piano, specializing in Ragtime, at Azusa Pacific University. Eliza eventually changed her major to arranging and, at the urging of a teacher, began singing. Over the next few years, Eliza developed her unique, haunting vocal style by listening to her voice on a four track recorder.

Shortly before graduating, Eliza began composing her own material, utilizing her talent for arranging string quartets and piano. When she began performing at Los Angeles venues, she purchased a toy piano out of necessity. The compact, antique, two-octave Schoenhut piano quickly became her trademark accompaniment. Its piercingly nostalgic sound created a lyrical dissonance with her deceptively powerful voice. While she still performs with a small chamber of musicians at venues like El Cid and Hotel Cafe, the toy piano is the central instrument on her new EP, Gild the Lily.
Kate Ryder, United Kingdom

Kate Ryder is renowned for incorporating unusual keyboard instruments *such as toy pianos, music boxes, antique keyboards, and prepared piano* into her performances throughout the world. Highly regarded as a soloist and collaborator, she is also well known for commissioning and premiering new works, improvising, recording, lecturing, and leading workshops on the "extended" piano.

In solo and ensemble toy piano projects, Kate has developed an authentic new keyboard repertoire for a fast-growing collection of small vintage pianos (1904-1960) ranging from one to three octaves. In a unique style, she often stands while playing multiple toy pianos stacked around her, resulting in a multi-keyboard sound source that mixes intriguingly with beats, electronica, and images. Her performances in unusual spaces, from nightclubs to medieval churches and theatres, locate these instruments in an entirely different sound world, creating fascinating new perspectives for the listener and performer alike. "I have amassed an arsenal of small pianos including three highly prized antique Schoenhuts and a Schoenhut baby grand, the 'Steinway' of Toy Pianos. What fascinates me is the very distinct personality of each, and what happens when I combine them in concert with other instruments and electronic media."
Victor Trescoli Sanz, Spain

Víctor is a pianist with a special interest in presenting contemporary works alongside traditional repertoire. Following his studies in Spain, he earned a Master's Degree in music at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. He received awards from the Jaques Vonk Foundation (the Netherlands), IVM (Instituto Valenciano de la Música), and the Spanish government to continue his studies. In addition to solo recitals, Víctor enjoys collaboration with Avlitria Ensemble, CVA~New Muziek Ensemble, Alart Quartet, and Sorolla Ensemble. He performs a duo with cellist Josep Trescolí Sanz and is the founding member of Art! Trio (focusing on the repertoire for violin, cello and piano) and of Group Mixtour.

"Somehow my encounter with the toy piano was an attempt to return to childhood, from the first moment I touched it became something serious and at the same time was hilarious. I like the idea of a theatrical image where Schoenhut toy pianos are the protagonists."
Michelle Schumann, Ph.D, United States
Attention to Sound (Austin Chronicle)

A native Canadian, Michele Schumann is a highly sought after solo pianist and collaborative artist both in her hometown of Austin, TX and throughout the US, Canada and Europe. The first toy piano Michelle used is a Schoenhut mahogany grand that matches her 1917 mahogany Steinway grand: "It is kind of the 'Mini-Me.'"

The wild response to her (John) Cage debut in Calgary prompted her to make it an annual event (Happy Birthday, Mr. Cage!), celebrating the composer's birthday in the same way that chamber groups celebrate Mozart's birthday in January: with a concert and cake.
Alan Shockley, Ph. D, United States

Composer, pianist, author, toy piano and melodica player, Alan is Assistant Professor and Area Director of Composition/Theory in the Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach, where he also directs the New Music Ensemble. Recent projects include two piano works commissioned by Benjamin Binder in response to Schumann's Carnaval, a virtuosic violin solo for the Montecito Summer Music Festival (stn [adversary]), and Sechseläuten, for the Rhode Island College Wind Ensemble.

Alan organized Beyond the 88, a Festival of New Music for Alternative Keyboard Instruments at Princeton University that included works for harpsichord, prepared piano, hurdy-gurdy, melodica, accordion, toy pianos, and other keyboard instruments; also wrote _little white house (underpass to the foundation), 1 p.m._ for nine electrofitted ("player") toy pianos for Trimpin's Seattle installation Klavier nonette, later released on CD by Jack Straw Studios, and followed by a single toy piano version.
Nadia Shpachenko, Ph. D, United States

Pianist Nadia Shpachenko has performed extensively in solo and chamber music recitals and with orchestras in North America and Europe. She completed DMA and MM degrees at the University of Southern California, where she was awarded the title of Outstanding Graduate. Dr. Shpachenko is currently Assistant Professor of Music at the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and Adjunct Professor of Music at the Claremont Graduate University. Information about her many achievements including awards, performances, and affiliations with organizations and professionals, is available on the website, along with music samples.

"I have always been drawn to unorthodox contemporary repertoire, especially to pieces involving unusual sounds (extended piano techniques, prepared piano etc.). My husband bought me a Schoenhut Baby Grand for Valentine's Day two years ago and since then I have been exploring engaging toy piano repertoire, programming pieces for solo toy piano as well as for a combination of toy piano and other instruments and media in my piano recitals. And, of course, audiences love it when I sit on the little bench!"
David Smooke, Ph.D, United States

David teaches music theory and composition at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. A member of the trio plinkTHUNKSqwak, he performs improvisations and original works on various instruments including toy piano. He is currently building larger pieces utilizing electronic processing of toy piano, microtonally-tuned autoharp and other instruments.

"Picture is from an improv gig that I put together featuring Rome Prize and Berlin Prize winning composer and throat singer Ken Ueno."
TOYEURISM, United States

Pianists-composers Elizabeth A. Baker and Robert Fleitz share a passion for new works that incorporate toy pianos and electronics. Their goal of making such music available to the general public led to creation of the innovative duo Toyeurism.

Elizabeth and Robert have illustrious backgrounds in a wide array of genres. In addition to their busy performance schedules and Toyeurism activities, Elizabeth co-founded and serves as Executive Director of The New Music Conflagration; Robert is co-founder of the Resonant Grounds Initative. Both organizations are dedicated to fostering collaboration and creativity amongst contemporary composers and musicians. “Robert and Elizabeth exclusively use and support Schoenhut toy pianos.”