"Vastek’s fingers fly through the rapturous piano solo with passion and profound tenderness, almost as though the melodies were born in her bones." (Second Inversion)
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. She is committed to the never-ending exploration of the role of music as a force for good, as well as the continual exploration of how mining her own stories can lead to a deeper listening of the stories of others.
Performing has taken Sophia to South Africa, Mexico, the Kennedy Center, the United States State Department, the Canadian Embassy (DC), Polish Cultural Institute (DC), The Apollo Theatre, and National Sawdust, among many others. She has also been presented at festivals such as The NoiseGate Festival, Queens New Music Festival, Artscape, and Arts Letters & Numbers.
Sophia’s debut album is newly released on innova Recordings with music by Michael Harrison, Donnacha Dennehy, and John Cage. Featuring vocalist Megan Schubert and tabla player Nitin Mitta, produced by multiple Grammy-winning engineer Adam Abeshouse. Of the album, Second Inversion writes, "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."
With composer David Ibbett, Sophia is a co-founder of Music of Reality, an interdisciplinary concert series and event production organization that connects the world of scientific discovery and research with musicians and artists. They have collaborated with the NoiseGate Festival, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, New York University, Boston University, and Brandeis University, as well as researchers across a broad spectrum of scientific and technical fields. They released an EP this spring. Sophia is also one half of Tilted Arc, an electroacoustic duo with electronic sound artist and multi-instrumentalist Sam Torres.
Sophia is indebted to her teachers, peers, and friends who continue to teach her how to ask questions and truly listen.
Sophia goes through life with her human partner Sam and their three-legged cat. Reading, podcasts, elephants, rhinos, popcorn, lemons, and questions are just a few of her favorite things.
Subbayya is from India. Vastek (spelled Chwastek until soon before her birth) is from Poland.