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We build, perform and educate with musical instruments made from reused and repurposed materials. We combine science, music and environmental awareness through our performances, programs and social initiatives, always focusing on how art and science work together. 

Bash the Trash Co-founders

The organization 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.   

We bring a variety of programs to schools, 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. 

We write and produce 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.  

Our organization reaches out to students, families and educators throughout the world to bring their message of science-based environmental arts education, working with over 60,000 students a year in live performances and residencies, and 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. We also provide master classes for graduate students in education, as well as internships, apprenticeships and training programs for new teaching artists.   

Over the years we've done some unique stuff - jammed with Yo-Yo Ma and Wynton Marsalis, visited Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood; led environmental parades through Washington DC; and still perform twice a year at Carnegie Hall.  


Founded in 1988 as The Experimental Orchestra, 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 we 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 and Canada. 

2018 brought both a Drama Desk Award Nomination and a Grammy Nomination!! 


BTT currently reaches about 60,000 students, teachers and adults per year through performances, workshops, festivals, professional development sessions and other events. Our roster of teaching artists and performers includes musicians, dancers, storytellers, theater artists and electronic media artists.

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