4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

M 175 T69: Not Child's Play

John Cage, who would have turned 100 on September 5, wrote the first serious composition for toy piano, as odd as it to say those words together in a sentence.

First performed in 1948 and called Suite for Toy Piano, it is as weird as anything ever written by the Los Angeles-born oddball composer. But such as it was, this milestone took place a good three years before Schroeder came to be.

It is likely that Schroeder, and not the elder Cage, was responsible for insinuating toy piano into the dreams and possibly even the genetic material of every baby boomer alive today.

Schroeder, and his red toy piano, first appeared in 1951 in the Peanuts comic strip.

Scott Paulson, of UCSD, and a baby boomer himself was likely influenced by little Schroeder as well, although he claims Mr. Cage as the impetus for launching UCSD's Toy Piano Festival a dozen years ago.

The fest has always been staged in the library as close to the late composer's date of birth as was humanly possible. This year, it falls dead-on the money on the man's centennial.

Paulson himself is known as a man of musical oddities. His toy piano collection: "More than 200, but less than 300." He also has a warehouse full of hundreds of sound effects instruments and noisemakers and bona fide musical instruments that get put to the test as part of his Teeny Tiny Pit Orchestra in which he and a handful of musicians soundtrack behind the screening of old silent films. He is a classical oboist from Maine. The last I saw him he was sitting in my kitchen with a sack full of Stylophones.

Some toy piano points of interest from UCSD's gig release:

UCSD has a history with toy pianos that pre-dates the annual toy piano festival. Composer Robert Erickson, a founder of UCSD's Music Department wrote a piece for toy pianos and bells that was premiered on PBS in 1966. Later, PBS toured the Toy Piano Collection at Geisel Library in January, 2000 with a 30-minute segment edited from a day-long visit from television host Huell Howser.

"This annual festival," writes Paulson, "is a popular show with broad appeal, featuring "serious" works for toy piano, new toy piano works commissioned by the UCSD Arts Library, and, of course, songs from The Cat in the Hat Songbook. Come early to this show, or you may have to sit on the floor," he says, where the toy piano players must sit by dint of the small scale of their instruments.

"Sue Palmer will premiere a new toy piano boogie," he adds. "Ellen Lawson premieres a new work for two toy pianos that is titled "Untitled" and is a tribute to John Cage. Christian Hertzog and I are playing a lesser-known John Cage piece for toy pianos and projections and electronic tape. I am playing the Robert Erickson piece for toy piano. Gail Gipson premieres a new Blues for Toy Piano. Ken Herman will pick from our toy piano scores at the Library. I think Dana Mambourg Zimbric and I will play some lesser-known lullabys from other lands."

Geisel Library's toy piano collection consists of instruments, recordings, extant literature and commissioned scores. "In 2001, because of our activities," Paulson emails, "the Library of Congress issued a special call number and subject heading for Toy Piano Scores: M 175 T69."

Twelfth Annual Toy Piano Festival: Wednesday, September 5, 12:00 p.m. UC San Diego, Geisel Library, main floor, Seuss Room

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

The battle of the sexes hits the water

Anglerettes versus Fishermen

John Cage, who would have turned 100 on September 5, wrote the first serious composition for toy piano, as odd as it to say those words together in a sentence.

First performed in 1948 and called Suite for Toy Piano, it is as weird as anything ever written by the Los Angeles-born oddball composer. But such as it was, this milestone took place a good three years before Schroeder came to be.

It is likely that Schroeder, and not the elder Cage, was responsible for insinuating toy piano into the dreams and possibly even the genetic material of every baby boomer alive today.

Schroeder, and his red toy piano, first appeared in 1951 in the Peanuts comic strip.

Scott Paulson, of UCSD, and a baby boomer himself was likely influenced by little Schroeder as well, although he claims Mr. Cage as the impetus for launching UCSD's Toy Piano Festival a dozen years ago.

The fest has always been staged in the library as close to the late composer's date of birth as was humanly possible. This year, it falls dead-on the money on the man's centennial.

Paulson himself is known as a man of musical oddities. His toy piano collection: "More than 200, but less than 300." He also has a warehouse full of hundreds of sound effects instruments and noisemakers and bona fide musical instruments that get put to the test as part of his Teeny Tiny Pit Orchestra in which he and a handful of musicians soundtrack behind the screening of old silent films. He is a classical oboist from Maine. The last I saw him he was sitting in my kitchen with a sack full of Stylophones.

Some toy piano points of interest from UCSD's gig release:

UCSD has a history with toy pianos that pre-dates the annual toy piano festival. Composer Robert Erickson, a founder of UCSD's Music Department wrote a piece for toy pianos and bells that was premiered on PBS in 1966. Later, PBS toured the Toy Piano Collection at Geisel Library in January, 2000 with a 30-minute segment edited from a day-long visit from television host Huell Howser.

"This annual festival," writes Paulson, "is a popular show with broad appeal, featuring "serious" works for toy piano, new toy piano works commissioned by the UCSD Arts Library, and, of course, songs from The Cat in the Hat Songbook. Come early to this show, or you may have to sit on the floor," he says, where the toy piano players must sit by dint of the small scale of their instruments.

"Sue Palmer will premiere a new toy piano boogie," he adds. "Ellen Lawson premieres a new work for two toy pianos that is titled "Untitled" and is a tribute to John Cage. Christian Hertzog and I are playing a lesser-known John Cage piece for toy pianos and projections and electronic tape. I am playing the Robert Erickson piece for toy piano. Gail Gipson premieres a new Blues for Toy Piano. Ken Herman will pick from our toy piano scores at the Library. I think Dana Mambourg Zimbric and I will play some lesser-known lullabys from other lands."

Geisel Library's toy piano collection consists of instruments, recordings, extant literature and commissioned scores. "In 2001, because of our activities," Paulson emails, "the Library of Congress issued a special call number and subject heading for Toy Piano Scores: M 175 T69."

Twelfth Annual Toy Piano Festival: Wednesday, September 5, 12:00 p.m. UC San Diego, Geisel Library, main floor, Seuss Room

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close