Artist Conversation with Bash the Trash


Members of Bash the Trash. Photo Credit: Shandor Patrick Photography

Wed May 31, 7:30 PM

Upstream Gallery, 8 Main Street, Hastings-on-Hudson

Admission by donation

Seating is limited- Make a Reservation Here

Carina Piaggio and John Bertles, founders and artistic directors of Bash the Trash, in rehearsal at Carnegie Hall. Photo Credit: Erika Kapin

Geri Pell of Pell Wealth Advisors


Interviewed by Geri Pell.

Named by Westchester Magazine as one of Westchester’s 30 “Most Intriguing People” and repeatedly honored as one of the top financial advisors in the country by Barron’s Magazine, Geri shares her passion for the Arts in this conversation with Carina and John.



Seating is limited- Make a Reservation Here

About Bash the Trash

Bash the Trash was founded in 1988 by the husband-and-wife creative team of John Bertles and Carina Piaggio. Not just a percussion group that plays on odd things, Bash the Trash’s scientist/musicians have invented and compose for an entire orchestra of strange-looking but great-sounding musical instruments including brass, woodwinds, strings and percussion.
Bash the Trash reaches out to students, families and educators throughout the world with a message of science-based environmental arts education, working with over 60,000 students a year in live performances and residencies, and many more through web-based instruction and interaction. Bash the Trash’s co-director John Bertles provides professional development for educators in arts integration and environmental issues through the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Bash the Trash also provides master classes for graduate students in education, as well as internships, apprenticeships and training programs for new teaching artists.

Bash the Trash brings a variety of programs to festivals, concert halls, performing arts centers and other venues around the United States and the world. Their core group of more than thirty musicians, dancers and storytellers have skills that extend from rock to jazz to classical to electronic dance music, and incorporate dance, theater, video/film and other electronic media.

Bash the Trash also writes and produces a series of concerts featuring “real” instruments, drawing on many years of collaborations with musical groups and incredible performers from Asia, North America, Africa, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.

Bash the Trash has done some pretty unusual stuff. They’ve jammed with Yo-Yo Ma and Wynton Marsalis; visited Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood; led environmental parades through Washington DC and the American Museum of Natural History in NYC; and perform twice a year at Carnegie Hall. Bash the Trash’s musical instruments will be featured in the Broadway revival of “Once on This Island”, opening in December 2017.

Founded in 1988 as The Experimental Orchestra, Bash the Trash (BTT) originally provided classroom workshops and residencies under the umbrella of cultural institutions such as Carnegie Hall, the Guggenheim Museum and New York Philharmonic.

As a separate entity BTT began providing larger performances in 1991 which brought about the name change to Bash the Trash, which became a registered trademark in 1998. By that time BTT was providing roughly sixty performances a year as well as workshops to students around the NY-NJ-CT area and beyond, plus professional development and consulting services.

In 2008 the group reorganized as Bash the Trash Environmental Arts LLC, and began to offer environmental programming and performances across the United States, with regional performers based in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Michigan and Nebraska. BTT has also performed internationally in Argentina, Canada and Scotland. Bash the Trash currently reaches about 60,000 students, teachers and adults per year through performances, workshops, festivals, professional development sessions and other events.

Bash the Trash at the Museum. Photo Credit: Shandor Patrick Photography

Seating is limited- Make a Reservation Here

About the Directors

John Bertles is an instrument-builder, educator, environmentalist and composer. He has created a unique collection of hundreds of musical instruments made from found objects and other unusual materials, each of which illustrate concepts of science and sustainability. He has been a teaching artist, concert narrator/performer, curriculum writer and professional development consultant, and is a board member emeritus of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable. As a composer he works with traditional instruments along with his own invented instrument creations, writing music ranging from opera to circus tunes, and from symphony to punk rock, He is a three-time recipient of the ASCAP Plus Music Award for Songwriting.

Carina Piaggio is a choreographer, performer, director and educator, and has created dance and theater works both in her native Argentina and in New York City. She is a 1995 New York State Foundation for the Arts Fellow for her dance/theater work Ladies in Waiting; shared the 2004 MAX Prize (the Spanish Tony Award for Best Show) for co-directing Bertolt Brecht’s Sobre Horacios y Curiacios; and a three-time recipient of the ASCAP Plus Music Award for Songwriting. She is currently working on a new piece, “Poodle Miniatures”, which will see the light of day for the first time in July at the Widow Jane Mine Performing Arts Center.

Bertles and Piaggio have been married since 1991 and live in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. Their son Ian Bertles is a rising star in the EDM world with his duo “Truth and Lies”, and a regular Bash the Trash performer.

About Interviewer Geri Pell

Geri Eisenman Pell, Private Wealth Advisor and CEO of Pell Wealth Partners, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., has been a financial advisor since 1986.  Among numerous national recognitions, Geri has appeared on CNBC, CNN, NBC Nightly News, and Fox Business News. She has also been quoted in and written articles for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Financial Planning, Financial Advisor and Registered Rep Magazines. For the past year, Geri has been a member of CNBC’s Digital Financial Advisor Council. As CNBC continues to strengthen their digital presence, members of the Council, such as Geri, contribute to the site through guest columns and on-air appearances to enrich their content as it relates to real life financial planning.

Geri has had the distinct honor of being recognized as one of the Top 100 Women Financial Advisors in the country by Barron’s Magazine from 2009-2016*.  She was also named to the Barron’s list of Top 1,200 advisors in the country in 2014-2017. In 2017, Geri was recognized as one of Financial Times Top 400 Financial Advisors and a Brava Award Winner by Smart CEO. In 2016, Geri was recognized by Westchester Magazine as one of Westchester’s 30 Most Intriguing People. Her focus is on helping high net worth clients plan their financial goals for a lifetime and beyond.  She believes that when done right, financial planning can be a life changing experience, re-aligning your relationship with wealth.

Geri has always been a believer in the power of the arts. Though they are underfunded and sometimes undervalued, the joy and freedom that can be felt through the arts is immeasurable. She feels that theater, dance, music, and art allow people to think outside the box and awakens a part of the soul that is not accessed by any other means. Geri is the President of Treehouse Shakers, a non-profit organization that brings storytelling through theater and dance to children in the New York City area who would otherwise not have access to live theater, often due in part to their impoverished home life and other varying circumstances beyond their control. Through Treehouse Shakers performances, children are given an opportunity to use their imagination and realize that there is life beyond their immediate situations. These performances have the power to help children envision their futures and acknowledge the ability to break the status quo; going on and live happy, fulfilling, successful existence.

As a private wealth advisor, Geri has had the opportunity to use her knowledge and resources to help grow the reach of the arts. It is her desire to use this power to help change and transform lives, while taking people out of their reality – even if only for a day.


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