top of page

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

DARA + KYLE

Celebrating Black History Month

 

Kyle Walker, Piano

Dara Hankins, Cello

PROGRAM

(Celebrating Black History Month: Program to be finalized)

ABOUT THE MUSICIANS

Kyle P. Walker, a critically-acclaimed pianist with a passion for using music to address social issues, is on a mission to bridge traditional Western repertoire with the work of neglected composers from around the world.

Many of his performances have been featured on media broadcasts including The Green Space at WNYC, WQXR’s Mcgraw-Hill Financial Young Artists Showcase, SC Public Radio, Sunday Baroque, NPR’s Public Radio East, NPR’s 1A, CNN, and PBS. He has been featured in recitals at New York’s Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, and with orchestra in Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall. Highlights of past seasons include solo performances at The Apollo Theater, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Frist Museum of Art, The Tantaloona Cave of Australia, the Lied Center of Kansas, and Berkeley Piano Club. He has also featured in performances with Fort Worth Opera, Opera Noire, Illinois State University, Resolve to Save Lives, and a special presentation of American slave “Blind Tom” Wiggins in collaboration with Groupmuse. 

Mr. Walker was featured in residency alongside Boston-based ensemble Castle of our Skins at The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The online series of free, digital programs explores the ways some Black American composers have found inspiration in the rich tradition of spirituals. 

Walker is pianist of DARA + KYLE, innovative piano/cello duo and 2021 recipient of the Chamber Music America “Ensemble Forward” career grant. The award-winning duo is committed to bringing excellence and respect to all under-represented composers in the canon. Walker also performs with The Harlem Chamber Players, an ethnically diverse collective of professional musicians dedicated to bringing high-caliber, affordable and accessible live classical music to people in the Harlem community and beyond. 

As an advocate of social justice Walker is a founding member and chamber musician of The Dream Unfinished, an activist orchestra which supports NYC-based civil rights and community organizations through concerts and presentations. As a teaching artist and educator, he has co-presented at the Human Rights Center, New York Society for Ethical Culture, and the Brooklyn Public Library. 

In recent seasons he performed as soloist with the East Carolina Symphony Orchestra and Colour of Music Chamber Orchestra. In addition he has presented performances at The Kennedy Center, Steinway Hall NYC, The Great Hall at Cooper Union, The House of the Redeemer, Birmingham Jefferson Concert Hall, Tishman Auditorium, National Opera America, Lincoln Center’s Metropolitan Opera, and National Sawdust. He has performed at The Colour of Music Festival, SC, Tibor Varga Music Festival, Switzerland, The Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival, NC, The Ferrara Chamber Music Festival, VA, Enso Chamber Music Festival, CT, the Beethoven Institute, NYC, and numerous summers at PianoFest in the Hamptons, NY. 

In 2013, Mr. Walker was awarded the 1st prize winner of the Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition. He has also taken 1st prize in The National Talent Hunt of Omega Psi Phi, and the Greensboro Music Association Young Artist competition. He is a frequent collaborator in new music performance projects with living composers such as Vijay Iyer, John Link, Courtney Bryan, Jeffery Scott, Evan Williams, Matthew Lyon Hazzard, Joan Szymko, Tania Leon, and Mary D. Watkins. 

A dedicated educator, Walker is a member of the piano faculty at NYU Steinhardt’s program in Piano Studies. In addition he is also on faculty of the Lucy Moses School at Kaufman Music Center, and on the chamber music faculty of The Artist Program at Suzuki on the Island. He has presented recitals, residencies, and masterclasses at various institutions such as The University of Dayton, The University of Virginia, Belmont University, Allen University, The Harlem School of the Arts, and The Duke Ellington School of the Arts. He has also co-presented extensive workshops alongside The Dream Unfinished including the Carnegie Hall Music Educator Workshop, speaking about arts activism and building diverse curriculums for students, to include composers that reflect the communities in which they serve. 

Kyle Walker holds degrees from Mannes College, The New School for Music, East Carolina University, and from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. His principal teachers include Thomas Sauer, Benjamin Hochman, Keiko Sekino, Henry Doskey, and Clifton Matthews. 

He is currently touring with a solo performance project entitled Bach to BlackNotes, which features works of J.S. Bach juxtaposed with music of neglected composers who speak to issues of oppression and inequality. 

 

Kyle lives in Pompton Lakes, NJ, a suburb of New York City, with his wife, violinist Katherine Dennis, and their daughter Khloe.

Dara Hankins is a cellist and vocalist, active as an orchestral musician, soloist, chamber musician, and teaching artist with a strong background in western classical traditions. She welcomes collaboration with artists from diverse disciplines, and has performed nationally and internationally with many renowned artists including Yo-Yo Ma, Branford Marsalis, Joshua Bell, Kirk Whalum, and Lalah Hathaway. Dara recently collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma for his Songs of Comfort series, arranging ‘Songs My Mother Taught Me’ for a virtual performance during the pandemic. She believes in promoting equity through music and is an advocate for social justice, and is a member of The Dream Unfinished, an activist orchestra that uses classical music as a platform to engage audiences and dialogue surrounding social and racial justice.

bottom of page