Past Performance
Baryshnikov Arts Center Presents

Phyllis Chen

Dec 10, 2014

Accomplished pianist, composer, and “one of the world’s leading proponents of the toy piano” (Chicago Reader), Phyllis Chen uses unconventional instruments and sound-making devices in her compositions. She performs the World Premiere of Lighting The Dark, scored for hand-made music boxes, clavichord, accordion, and electronics, inspired by the collected photographs of women around the world by Paola Gianturco. The program also includes Chen performing music for toy piano and piano by composers whose innovative works influenced her newest composition.


Phyllis Chen: Lighting The Dark, hand-made music boxes, clavichord, accordion, electronics
John Dowland / William Byrd: Pavana Lachrymae, clavichord
Silvia Corda: Tre ritratti del tempo, toy piano and toy dulcimer
Alvin Lucier: Music for Piano with Magnetic Strings

ICElab participant Phyllis Chen is a BAC Resident Artist alumna. Her new work is commissioned by BAC.


Generous support for Lighting The Dark provided by the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts.

"Move Over, Schroeder. Make Room for Tiny Dancers."

Phyllis Chen
Artist Bio

Phyllis Chen

Phyllis Chen is a pianist, toy pianist, and composer who performs original multimedia compositions and works by contemporary composers. A founding member of International Contemporary Ensemble, she was chosen as one of the inaugural 2011 ICElab composers, creating a cycle of chamber works using the toy piano as the central voice.

Chen is the recipient of commissions and grants including the 2012 Fromm Music Foundation, Roulette Intermedium (Jerome Fund), Opera Cabal Opera Shop, NYSCA, and New Music USA. She is currently working on a new multimedia work for Margaret Leng Tan, commissioned by the Singapore International Festival for the Arts and the Jack Quartet/Look & Listen Festival. Chen is the founder of UnCaged Toy Piano, an annual call for scores and bi-annual festival dedicated to expanding the repertoire for toy piano.

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All photos: Carrie Schneider