Giacomo Di Tollo

Questo sito contiene tutte le informazioni sull'attività di Giacomo di Tollo, pianista italiano itinerante in Europa, insieme ai vari interessi circa la musica della sua terra, la musica della storia della sua terra, la scienza e l'intelligenza artificiale. In queste pagine é anche presente un Blog contenente le riflessioni quotidiane del musicista.

"In questo sito e blog troverete le tante riflessioni su argomenti che mi hanno appassionato durante gli anni: argomenti legati al pianoforte, alla storia della musica, alla musica del mio Paese, all'intelligenza artificiale, e a tutti i collegamenti tra questi argomenti. Voglio condividere con voi i miei spunti e mi piacerebbe conoscere i vostri!"

in Didattica

Toy piano, some years ago

In 1872 Albert Schoenhut, an immigrant recently settled in Philadelphia, started to shape an idea he had had for long time, with a strong outlook toward the future.

Albert was German, with both his grandfathers being toy-manufacturers. In Philadelphia he found a job at the well-know Wanamaker & Son, spending several hours in the toy department, understanding that the musical aspect of toys had to be developed… with toy piano’s for children already on the market, but required technical improvements. Albert’s projects were aimed to improve these pianos and led to the opening, in 1872, of the firm that bears his name. Five of Albert’s six sons joined the firm as directors. Nowadays, Schoenhut is still a leading brand in the market.


Today the toy piano is not exclusively used by children: its use has been exploited by contemporary composers (John Cage, George Crumb, Yann Tiersen, Mauricio Kagel, etc.), by pop-rock songwriters and groups (Vinicio Capossela, Radiohead, The Cure, Evanescence, Tori Amos, etc.), by concert musicians (Margaret Leng Tan,  Bernd Wiesemann, Isabel Ettenauer, etc.), in the cinema (Il favoloso mondo di Amelie) and furthermore… do you remember Schroeder acting as a virtuoso, estolling Beethoven on his toy piano?


Pianist Giacomo di Tollo wants to introduce the use of the toy piano at all possible levels…, we need to let professional musicians grow in a society that is able to understand them. And how better than supporting a touchable image of music, created by child’s play?


Here are our projects. Please support them 🙂



  1. Busking for L’Aquila

Giacomo di Tollo is from Abruzzo, and as everyone knows that this region was been destroyed by a terrific earthquake, affecting the main administrative centre (L’Aquila) and its province. The pianist has adopted, ever since, the project of being a busker in the cities he would have visited, and to donate the money earned to the destroyed areas… it takes many drops to fill a lake… (if not the sea!)


2) Toy pianos for children

The first recipient of toy pianos are children…poor things, they feel more at ease playing a small piano, rather than a grand, as the piano stool is taller than them 🙂

The idea is to bring the toy piano amongst children at school, to get them acquainted with the instrument… each school should have a toy piano!


3) Concert

Let’s help the toy piano to enter the classical circuit: At festivals, and in theatres! We offer concerts for toy piano solo or hybrids, concerts for big-daddy piano and toy-child piano. Repertoire can be agreed upon according to the various circumstances.


Examples of repertoire:


Ludovic Selmi Toy Toy

John Cage Suite for Toy Piano

Rob Smith  Schroeder’s Revenge

Lydia Martin  Wonky Inside!

Giacomo di Tollo Musica per pianoforte giocattolo

Tom Johnson  Kleine Choräle für kleines Klavier

Stephen Montague Mirabella (a Tarantella)

Toby Twining Nightmare Rag

George Crumb Ancient Voices of Children


4) Performer in residence

We want composers to be aware of the potential embedded in toy piano writing, and we would like them to develop an autonomous toy-piano literature. To this goal, Giacomo di Tollo is available to work as Performer in Residence during composition workshops and lectures. Several aspects of toy-piano writing have to be investigated: expressive writing, articulations, dynamics, textures, pauses. Above all, differences between the grand and toy piano are the key aspect that could represent the most interesting issues.


Support our projects!


Giacomo di Tollo

Contrada Torre Pizzis I-66026 Ortona (Chieti) ITALY

+39 3287023452

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