Stories and histories
Michael Harrison
John Cage
Donnacha Dennehy
Sophia Subbayya Vastek
Michael Harrison
Nitin Mitta
Megan Schubert
Catalog Number: 
new classical
new music

Baltimore, MD

Release Date: 
May 26, 2017
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
HistoriesiTunes Artist's PageiTunes Album Page
Song TitleTimePrice
1.Jaunpuri (Rendition of a Raga)09:53$0.99
2.She Is Asleep08:14$0.99
3.Dream (1)03:03$0.99
4.Hijaz Prelude07:46$0.99
5.A Room03:07$0.99
6.Dream (2)03:11$0.99
7.Stainless Staining14:52
8.Dream (3)03:07$0.99
One Sheet: 

Pianist Sophia Subbayya Vastek lives in the intersections – struggling to know her different cultural backgrounds, reveling in the questions, embracing the space between music now and before, and living squarely in the crosshairs of her wildest and most intimate emotional selves. Histories, her debut album, lives there.

With Sophia’s Indian heritage as a starting point, Histories is an exploration of, and homage to, the idea of our individual stories – those that make up our whole self, and which are unseen and unknown by others. These stories are often painful, and often beautiful.

Included on Histories are the first studio recordings of two works by Michael Harrison, both recorded on a piano in just intonation. The first, Jaunpuri, is a composition based on a traditional Indian raga and rare, old vocal composition. The work combines Western compositional structures, notation, and harmony with the basic structures and materials of Indian classical music, including raga (a melodic archetype), tala (rhythmic cycle), bandish (fixed melodic composition), gamak (melodic embellishments), and taan (virtuosic riffs).

Harrison’s other work, Hijaz Prelude, combines modal harmonies in raga Hijaz Bhairav (also known as the Hijaz mode in Arabic music) with a Western, arpeggiated keyboard figuration. 

In between the works by Michael Harrison lies John Cage, who provides the spiritual glue, and Donnacha Dennehy’s pulsing Stainless Staining – an expansion of the overtone series for piano and backing tape. In Dennehy’s work, the repetitive structures and rhythms have the effect of creating a high-energy mantra, one that might be sung or spoken with the most ecstatic of convictions.

In many ways, Histories is an exploration of a personal grief, but it’s also a kind of ‘call to prayer’. Each track is a marker and the space between, the thread and continuing narrative.  Everyone has stories.  Histories marks and honors them.

Baltimore-based Vastek, is a well-traveled performer and visual artist. With composer David Ibbett, she is a co-founder of Music of Reality, a multi-disciplinary series that connects the world of scientific discovery and research with musicians and artists. 



“In just under an hour, she travels from Indian ragas on a just-intoned piano to an immersive exploration of the overtone series, and all the way through to Cage’s prepared piano and pedal-laced dreamscapes. The result is both an homage to Vastek’s own individual histories but also a beautiful mosaic of the larger cultural intersections of our world—and how we weave those histories together through music." [FULL ARTICLE] - Maggie Malloy



"Eternity can take many forms: the exploration of this apparent paradox is the challenge gathered by this CD Innova, which sees Sophia Subbayya Vastek as the protagonist at the piano." [FULL ARTICLE] - Filippo Focosi