Wednesday 22 May 2024

TINY KEYS BIG SOUNDS: contemporary compositions for toy piano

The toy piano may seem like an unlikely candidate for the classical concert hall, yet all around the world, thousands of musicians gather every year for festivals, conferences and concerts featuring this unique instrument. Tricia Dawn Williams presents a series of toy piano projects throughout 2024 and 2025.

The first concert in the series, entitled Tiny Keys – Big Sounds, taking place on Friday 3 May at 8pm at the Spazju Kreattiv theatre, presents a programme for toy piano, electronic music and small percussion instruments. Williams has commissioned ten new works to local and foreign composers.

The music of each composer will explore the toy piano in a different way. Albert Garzia is intrigued by the contrast between the raw mechanical toy piano and an accompanying backtrack of synths and drum machine. Atau Tanaka uses live electronics to capture the live sound and produce echoes that “mirror” the soloist on the toy piano. For Daniel Cauchi’s and Olivia Kieffer’s works, Williams will alternate between the toy piano and additional percussion instruments, such as the cajón, wood blocks and jingles. While for the music of Veronique Vella, Williams will have one hand on the keyboard and the other hand turning the crank of a music box – an old fashioned cylinder with pins that rotates over a strip of paper with perforated holes to create a melodic loop. Tiny Keys – Big Sounds also includes new compositions by Luc Houtkamp, Alexander Vella Gregory, Mariella Cassar-Cordina, Christopher Muscat and Kris Spiteri.

This unique concert inspires audiences and raises the awareness that toy pianos ain’t playing around! They can indeed be considered a concert instrument. Tiny Keys – Big Sounds is part of Toy Piano+ supported by Arts Council Malta.

Tickets for the concert are available online via Spazju Kreattiv’s website –