Join the Library at the 20th Annual Toy Piano Festival for toy piano performances fit for listeners of all ages. Playing new works for toy pianos and songs from “The Cat in the Hat Songbook,” festival director Scott Paulson will be joined by his toy piano colleagues Sue Palmer, Andrea Wingen, Kenneth Herman, Barbara Scheidker, Samara Rice, Christian Hertzog, Peter Flynn, Alex Segal, Gail Gipson, Kiera Sullivan, Linda Kernohan, and Philippe Robles-Fradet. Many of the premieres at this year’s festival will merely be 20 measures or 50 seconds, in tribute to the 20th anniversary of the festival and the upcoming 50th anniversary of our Geisel Library building.
UC San Diego’s history with toy pianos dates back to 1966 when composer Robert Erickson, a founder of the university’s music department, wrote a piece for toy pianos and bells that premiered on California’s PBS television stations. The first composer to write a “serious” work for toy piano was John Cage, who visited campus on several occasions, including a two-week stay as a Regents lecturer in the 1980s. Peter Flynn and Scott Paulson, who were on campus for Cage’s lectures, will perform a Cage tribute piece at this year’s festival.