Come speak with Elizabeth A. Baker, toy piano expert and co-founder of the Florida International Toy Piano Festival about her groundbreaking toy piano method book Toyager: A Toy Piano Method. Elizabeth will perform a few toy piano miniatures by Olivia Kieffer, field audience questions about toy piano as well as the 2017 Florida International Toy Piano Festival, and sign copies of her book.
Admission is free and this event is open to all ages!
Celebrated for her “terrifying dynamic range,” cleanliness of sound, as well as unique sensitivity and ability to sculpt her performance for the acoustics of a space, Elizabeth A. Baker is a dramatic performer with an honest, near psychic connection to the music, which resounds with audiences of all ages and musical backgrounds. As a composer, her understanding of sonic space pairs with a unique eclectic voice, making for a spatial and auditory experience of music. As a pianist, Baker has studied with Steinway Artist Dr. Luis Sanchez and Jeff Donovick of St. Petersburg College and enjoys an active concert career with performances across the nation. Her 2015 solo concert tour featured engagements at Lamar University (Beaumont, TX), Flying Monkey Arts Collective (Huntsville, AL), Eyedrum (Atlanta, GA), and Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX). Emmy-award winning composer Larry Groupé has referred to her works as “Perfect.” Elizabeth’s works have been featured by Composers Circle, FIVE by FIVE, TEDxYouthTampaBay, Tampa Mini Makers Faire, Orlando Mini Makers Faire, as well as at the 2014 Electronic Music Midwest Festival and the 19th International Festival of Women Composers. Her compositions have been studied in academic institutions throughout the United States including USC-Thornton and the University of Georgia – Athens. In 2015 she received an Individual Artist Grant from the Saint Petersburg Arts Alliance and the City of Saint Petersburg, Florida to create and present an original sound installation In Our Own Words: A Sonic Memory Quilt, which told the stories of various African-Americans in a fresh avant-garde manner, framed by evolving drones and a four-hour live performance by Elizabeth. In addition to her work as a performer-composer, Elizabeth has extensive technical training in the recording arts, live sound reinforcement, and was the recipient of the 2012 Best Production Award in Music Technology III at St. Petersburg College, where she studied closely under mastering engineer Dave Greenberg. Combining her love of technology and keyboard instruments, Elizabeth has recently embarked on a mission to promote works for toy piano and electronics, using a setup that combines microphones, which she has built by hand. Her original works have been hailed by the Orlando Weekly as “a sterling testimonial to her artistry that proves she’s not just an expert in the toy piano field but a pioneer.” In Fall 2015, Schoenhut Piano Company added Elizabeth A. Baker to their official artist roster. In Summer 2016, Elizabeth embarked on creating the score for a film project headed by the brilliant dancer-choreographer Helen Hansen French, which explores the experience of being an artist-mother. The Motherhood Project workshop, presented in relation to the film featured a live dance performance with Elizabeth accompanying Helen’s choreography with toy piano, electronics, and Indian harmonium, a keyboard instrument that rarely appears on the Western musical concert stage. A sensitive improviser, with experience in a wide array of genres, Elizabeth is a frequent collaborator for Jim Ivy’s Tangled Bell Ensemble and other improvisational projects throughout Florida. Elizabeth is author of Toyager: A Toy Piano Method, the first comprehensive instructional book for toy piano, featuring principles of technique, practice strategies, music notation, as well as improvisational tactics.
Elizabeth is dedicated to promoting new music and has a passion for making rare concert works accessible to the general public. Her preferred concert presentation method engages the audience by breaking the fourth wall and asking them to consider the tiniest elements of the composition and reminding them that there is no such thing as an incorrect interpretation of a work. She firmly believes that every person will encounter music in a unique manner because each person comes from a different set of cultural norms, life experiences, and even the way they physically hear can be a factor to consider when seeking to relate with a work.
Elizabeth is Founder and Executive Director of The New Music Conflagration, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation founded in the State of Florida to promote the work of contemporary composers and musicians. She is also, Co-Founder of the Florida International Toy Piano Festival.