On Sunday, September 12, toy pianist Phyllis Chen opens the fifth season of Barbès Classical, Concert Artists Guild’s monthly second-Sunday series at Barbes Bar & Performance Space in Park Slope, Brooklyn. This concert celebrates the release of Ms. Chen’s second CD, Mesmers, a compilation of miniature works composed by Ms. Chen for miniature pianos, various music boxes, live electronics and bowls. Additionally, this serves as a preview for spring 2011 when Ms. Chen will at Barbès in a residency focusing on cross-genre compositions and collaborations.
This performance will feature music from the CD, which is bookended by Carousel and Cobwebbed Carousel; the latter was written by Ms. Chen for toy pianist Margaret Leng Tan in response to Ms. Tan’s enthusiasm for the former. Other works include Colure for toy piano and bowls, Double Helix for toy piano and bowls, Taroko for music box and effects, Hypnos for two toy pianos, Passageway for sampled music box and prepared piano and Munin Raven for music boxes and live-electronics.
This new CD is representative of several diverse projects for Phyllis Chen, an artist whose pursuits take her in numerous directions as a toy pianist, pianist, composer and performance artist. In addition to Mesmers, Ms. Chen launches The Looking Glass ReWondered in 2010-2011, a multimedia program inspired by fairytales and created in collaboration with video artist Rob Deitz. Sounding Off: A Fresh Look at Classical Music, a recent six-city tour with cellist Johannes Moser, was a great success, merging the classical canon with the cutting-edge. Ms. Chen was the featured musician for the world premiere and ensuing six-week run of Stephin Merritt’s Off-Broadway production, Coraline, and she is a member of ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), a Chicago and New York-based collective dedicated to the performance and promotion of new works.
Concert Artists Guild is a not for profit arts service organization whose mission is to discover nurture and promote young musicians. CAG helps talented artists, identified through its annual international competition, to build sustainable careers. Barbès Classical is the flagship series of CAG’s New Music/New Places initiative which presents CAG artists in non-traditional venues such as bars, clubs and galleries, introducing diverse audiences to concert music. Competition winners are also presented on the CAG Winners Series at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. The CAG Records label enables roster musicians to get their music onto disc and into the marketplace. The CAG Commissioning Program ensures that classical music continues to be a living art form by fostering collaborations between performers and composers.
Sunday, September 12, 7:00 pm – Barbès Bar and Performance Space, 376 Ninth Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn
PHYLLIS CHEN, toy piano
CD Release Concert - Mesmers
$10 suggested contribution
Mesmers track listing:
Carousel for toy piano and hand-cranked music box
Colure for toy piano and bowls
Double Helix for toy piano and bowls
Taroko for music box and effects
Hypnos for two toy pianos
Passageway for sampled music box and prepared piano
Munin Raven for music boxes and live-electronics
Cobwebbed Carousel for toy piano and hand-cranked music box