• Phyllis Chen

I’ve been a fan of keyboardist Phyllis Chen for a couple of years now. Though she also plays conventional piano, in the work that acquainted me with her she uses toy piano—not as a gimmick, but a serious instrument. She’s helped develop the literature for it by starting the Uncaged Toy Piano Composition Competition, and she’s also a terrific composer in her own right. On her latest recording, a three-inch CD called Mesmers, she presents eight fascinating miniatures. A few works, like “Taroko” and “Passageway,” employ music box and electronics, but most of these sweet-toned pieces are built around toy piano.