“Finding Refuge Together” for solo cello, was commissioned by cellist Kirsten Whitson to be a part of her Bearing Witness multimedia concerts. It was composed as a response to Kao Kalia Yang’s short story of the same title, about her early experiences as a refugee from Laos in her new home state of Minnesota in the 80s.
About Bearing Witness, Kirsten’s solo cello project:
The mission of Bearing Witness is to share a multi-media solo cello program that reflects global racial injustice. It is an enlightening concert, weaving together history lessons from a worldwide perspective with an artistic focus.
Between pieces, video narration provides real-life stories from marginalized cultures. The storytellers are teenagers, representing the next generation; our future. The juxtaposition of children with these important issues is powerful.
Discussions of systemic racial division and cultural bias are, and should be, at the forefront of our national consciousness.
Bearing Witness offers the opportunity to consider how stories from history about loss and trauma can move us and awaken empathy, while expanding our knowledge and world views. These are true stories about real people. Highlighting these narratives from underrepresented cultures with unique and meaningful music for solo cello is compelling.