Multi-instrumentalist Adam Simmons has enlisted Michael Kieran Harvey to perform his Concerto for Piano and Toy Band.

In a concert where the musicials will really “play” with their instruments, Adam Simmons’ quirky Concerto for Piano and Toy Band will kick off the composer-performer’s new concert series, The Usefulness of Art. Pianist Michael Kieran Harvey will join Simmons’ Creative Music Ensemble at Melbourne’s Fortyfivedownstairs in a concert that will feature bubbles, bursting balloons and rubber chickens.

Simmons’ concerto was originally written for the Adam Simmons Toy Band, who last performed at the Festival of Toy Music in Brisbane several years ago, but the Creative Music Ensemble has a similar set up. “It’s kind of like a small swing band,” Simmons tells me. “Saxophones, trumpet, trombone, bass and drums – but with a bunch of rubber chickens, balloons, spinning tops and party poppers.”

Adam Simmons

Simmons’ plays an impressive array of wind instruments and uses extended techniques to draw unconventional sounds from them. “Toys are just another sound source,” he says. “Music boxes have a certain quality, rubber chickens squeak – but they also bring a playfulness and a sense of nostalgia....