The Bardin-Niskala Duo (cello and piano) uses classical music to explore identity, fight racism, promote cultural awareness, and celebrate humanity during this time of division and racial violence. We perform works by under-represented composers, and our Commissioning Project asks ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American) composers to write us pieces that incorporate folksongs and children's songs of the composer's particular cultures. Through these commissions and the performances of these works, we promote these composers and open dialogue with and amongst audience members on the notions of homeland, community, and belonging, on the complexity and uniqueness of various cultures, and on the challenges of navigating life in this country as a bi-cultural, multi-cultural, or minority person.
Our programs are offered in concert halls, middle and high schools, universities and community centers, and range from traditional concerts to more informal performances mingled with open dialogue between us and audience members. Each performed work is preceded by a video from the composer, in which they speak about their work, what culture(s) and race(s) they most identify with, their (often ongoing) search for a sense of identity and belonging, and the importance of music for opening up communication, expression, and dialogue.