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Little Things

by Phyllis Chen

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Praised by the LA Times as “a dazzling delight,” Phyllis Chen’s new album features a wide range of works written or dedicated to her in the last few years, as she continues to expand the range of the toy piano in a concert setting. Also an active composer, Ms. Chen's creative sensibility pervades these commissions, as her innovative approach to the instrument emboldened the composers to experiment and imagine new worlds for this under appreciated instrument. From virtuosic solo works such as 2009 UnCaged Toy Piano competition winner Fabian Svenssons’s Toy Toccata to the ambient-loop based title track The Little Things by Angélica Negrón for toy instruments, the diversity of the seven tracks on this recording is tied together by a focus on the toy piano as a central voice in composition.

Hailed by the New York Times for her “delightful quirkiness matched with interpretive sensitivity,” Phyllis is a pianist, toy pianist and composer that performs original multimedia compositions and works by contemporary composers. The Oregonian states “her captivating performance was animated by unbridled inventiveness, the kind of joyous creativity that playing with toys is meant to inspire.” Phyllis’ artistic pursuits take her in numerous directions leading to her selection as a New Music/New Places Fellow at the 2007 Concert Artist Guild International Competition. Playing an instrument that has no set boundaries or genre, Phyllis has been invited to perform at a large variety of festivals and concerts in the US and abroad.

Phyllis is one of the founding members of ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble), a New York-based collective dedicated to the performance and promotion of new works. Phyllis was selected as one of the composer/artist for the inaugural ICElab Series, ICE’s newest model for commissioning, developing and performing new music by nurturing the essential composer-performer collaboration. Her chamber cycle Glass Clouds will be performed this year with ICE at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Atlas in Washington DC. Phyllis was also the recipient of the 2012 Roulette Commission (funded by the Jerome Foundation) to create a new solo work and one of twelve composers-recipients of the 2012 Fromm Music Foundation.


released August 6, 2013

Aaron Nevezie (1,2,5) John Davis (3,6,7) Ryan Streber (4) all tracks recorded at the Bunker Studio except track 4 recorded at EMPAC
Aaron Nevezie (1,2,5) John David (6,7) José Gomez and Angélica Negrón (3) Ryan Streber and Nathan Davis (4)
Randy Merrill (1-3,5-7) Ryan Streber (4)
Carrie Schneider
Rob Dietz


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New Focus Recordings New York, New York

New Focus Recordings is an artist led collective label featuring releases in contemporary music of many stripes, as well as new approaches to older repertoire. The label was founded by guitarist Daniel Lippel (who is the current director), composer engineer Ryan Streber, and composer Peter Gilbert in 2003-4, and features releases from many of new music's most active performers and composers. ... more

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