A Virtual Celebration of the 21st Annual Toy Piano Festival

Sep 8, 2021
12:00 PM–1:00 PM

Join us for the Library’s 21st annual Toy Piano Festival, a virtual event for listeners of all ages, via Facebook Premiere

Festival director Scott Paulson will be joined by his toy piano colleagues Sue Palmer, Andrea Wingen, Kenneth Herman, Barbara Scheidker, Samara Rice, Alex Segal, Christian Hertzog, Kiera Sullivan, Kay Etheridge and Linda Kernohan. The founder of the Miniature Piano Enthusiast Club Janice Kelsh will also be joining us this year for a special appearance. 

Most of our toy piano performers are filming their performances from their home music studios. The San Diego Central Library offered a special opportunity to festival founder Scott Paulson and his colleagues Sue Palmer and Kay Etheridge to film their segments at the Neil Morgan Auditorium on the David Copley Stage.

To attend, simply click on this Facebook Premiere link at the event start time or anytime between noon and 1 p.m. on Wednesday, September 8.

UC San Diego’s history with toy pianos dates back to 1966 when composer Robert Erickson, a founder of the university’s music department, wrote a piece for toy pianos and bells that premiered on California’s PBS television stations. The first composer to write a “serious” work for toy piano was John Cage, who visited campus on several occasions, including a two-week stay as a Regents lecturer in the 1980s. 

Fun facts: 

  • In 1999, a missing service bell at a Geisel Library help desk spawned a long streak of toy piano activity here at UC San Diego. The bell was replaced with a playful tiny keyboard and a sign: “Please play on toy piano for service.” And play they did!
  • The toy piano collection at Geisel Library consists of actual instruments, commissioned scores, and extant literature and recordings. Most of the commissioned scores in the collection are composed by UC San Diego alumni. 
  • In May 2001, the Library of Congress issued a subject heading and call number for toy piano scores because of the activities at Geisel Library. The collection can be viewed under the call number M 175 T69.

Scott Paulson