Our Stories

Contemporary Works by Black & Latinx composers

Andrea Casarrubios composer
Sebastian Quesada composer
Kevin Day composer
Mario Oyanadel composer
Carlos Carrillo composer

Michelle Cann piano
Thomas Mesa cello

Release Date: November 3, 2023
Catalog #: NV6571
Format: Digital
21st Century

Featuring cellist Thomas Mesa and pianist Michelle Cann, OUR STORIES from Navona Records aims to raise the voices of composers and performers from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in classical music. Made possible by PARMA Recordings and a Sphinx MPower Grant, this release musically conveys a diverse mixture of themes and topics, from the intricacies and curiosities of human communication to fear-inducing information prevalent in the media, reflections on the acceptance of life’s inevitable changes and losses, and more. Dive in and explore the masterful contemporary works of Andrea Casarrubios, Carlos Carrillo, Kevin Day, Sebastian Quesada, and Mario Oyanadel.


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Experience in Immersive Audio

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Silbo for Cello and Piano Andrea Casarrubios Michelle Cann, piano; Thomas Mesa, cello 5:32
02 Nerv! Toccata for Cello and Piano Sebastian Quesada Michelle Cann, piano; Thomas Mesa, cello 8:18
03 Cello Sonata: I. Allegro Agitato Kevin Day Michelle Cann, piano; Thomas Mesa, cello 5:58
04 Cello Sonata: II. Lento Kevin Day Michelle Cann, piano; Thomas Mesa, cello 5:58
05 Cello Sonata: III. Giocoso Kevin Day Michelle Cann, piano; Thomas Mesa, cello 4:33
06 Tres Campanas de Rere (Three Bells from Rere) Mario Oyanadel Michelle Cann, piano; Thomas Mesa, cello 7:31
07 Will the Quiet Times Come Carlos Carrillo Michelle Cann, piano; Thomas Mesa, cello 7:48

Tracks 1-5
Recorded December 7-8, 2022 at Oktaven Audio in Mount Vernon NY
Session Producer, Editing and Mixing Brad Michel
Session Engineer Ryan Streber

Tracks 6-7
Recorded April 27, 2023 at Oktaven Audio in Mount Vernon NY
Session Producer, Editing and Mixing Brad Michel
Session Engineer Edwin Kenzo Huet

Mastering Brad Michel
Dolby Atmos® Mixing/Mastering Brad Michel

Made possible by Sphinx through the Sphinx MPower grant

Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Chris Robinson, Danielle Sullivan

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette
Production Director Levi Brown
Production Manager Martina Watzková
Production Assistant Adam Lysák

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Aidan Curran
Digital Marketing Manager Brett Iannucci

Artist Information

Michelle Cann

Michelle Cann


Lauded as “technically fearless with…an enormous, rich sound” (La Scena Musicale), pianist Michelle Cann made her orchestral debut at age fourteen and has since performed as a soloist with prominent orchestras such as the Atlanta and Cincinnati symphony orchestras, The Cleveland Orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony, and The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Thomas Mesa


Cuban-American cellist Thomas Mesa has established himself as one of the most charismatic, innovative, and engaging performers of his generation. Mesa was the winner of the $50,000 First Prize in the 2016 Sphinx Competition; the Thaviu Competition for String Performance (Chicago, 2013); The Astral Artists 2017 National Auditions; and the Alhambra Orchestra Concerto Competition. He has appeared as soloist with orchestras in the United States and Mexico, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, Santa Barbara Symphony, Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra, which received this rave review from the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “A listener with closed eyes would have been hard pressed to distinguish [Mesa’s] shapely, expressive performance from that of another gifted artist two or three times his age.”

Andrea Casarrubios

Andrea Casarrubios


Praised by The New York Times for having "traversed the palette of emotions" with "gorgeous tone and an edge of-seat intensity" and described by Diario de Menorca as an "ideal performer" that offers "elegance, displayed virtuosity, and great expressive power," Spanish-born cellist and composer Andrea Casarrubios has played as a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. First Prize winner of numerous international competitions and awards, Casarrubios has appeared at Carnegie Hall, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Piatigorsky, Ravinia, and Verbier Festivals.

Sebastian Quesada

Sebastian Quesada


Sebastian Quesada is a Costa Rican composer interested in exploring the ambiguous and subjective nature of music to evoke specific imagery. Through a blend of diverse genres and processes, his compositions aim to explore musical narratives that are connected to our cultural and social perceptions. His work spans a variety of media, including large and chamber ensembles, rock music, incidental works, installations, and more. This diverse range of mediums has contributed to his intention of synthesizing different elements to explore extra-musical concepts.

Kevin Day

Kevin Day


An American whose music has been characterized by "propulsive, syncopated rhythms, colorful orchestration, and instrumental virtuosity," (Robert Kirzinger, Boston Symphony) composer Kevin Day has quickly emerged as one of the leading young voices in the world of music composition today, whose music ranges from powerful introspection to joyous exuberance. Kevin Day is an internationally acclaimed composer, conductor, and pianist, whose music often intersects between the worlds of jazz, minimalism, Latin music, fusion, and contemporary classical idioms.

Mario Oyanadel


Mario Oyanadel is a Chilean composer holding a B.A. in Composition from the University of Chile. His work is shaped by a diverse catalog that includes solo and ensemble chamber music, orchestral works, interdisciplinary pieces, scenic music, and performance. He has participated in various festivals including the Thailand Contemporary Music Festival, the Alba Rosa Viva! Festival, the University of Chili Contemporary Music Festival, among others. He has also received numerous international and national awards such as 1st place in the “Composition Contest Luis Advis 2017,” Chile.

Carlos Carrillo

Carlos Carrillo


Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, composer Carlos Carrillo holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (B.M.), Yale University (M.M.), and the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D.). He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Bearns Prize, the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, BMI, and ASCAP awards. He has been commissioned by Music and the Anthology, Casals Festival, the New York Youth Symphony, Concert Artists Guild, and Boston Opera Collaborative, among others.


Silbo (2021) for cello and piano takes inspiration from the fascinating whistling languages that have existed in territories worldwide, developed to communicate from across long distances. Often characterized by mountains or large extensions of land, some of these languages still exist in Mexico, Bolivia, Brasil, Nepal, Turkey, Papua New Guinea, France, Greece, Spain, and multiple countries in Africa. Each place has its own system of codes, tied to its history and heritage. For example, Silbo Gomero (Sylbo from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, Spain) allows for full sentences to be exchanged from up to three miles away. Its origins are associated with the language of Guanche. Spoken in the Canary Islands during pre-hispanic times, Guanche derives from Afro-Asian communities in North Africa. Sylbo from La Gomera not only has been preserved, but has also been granted UNESCO World Heritage status. This work for cello and piano was commissioned by the Cello Teaching Repertoire Consortium. One of my goals with Silbo was to foster curiosity towards these captivating traditions, besides becoming proficient at a wide range of instrumental skills. The cello often utilizes harmonics that create a sound world imitating whistles, while the piano provides the shapes of the landscape; the mountainous expanse, the winds, the subtle sea waves. These ideas are combined with dance rhythms inspired by traditional music of La Gomera island.

— Andrea Casarrubios

Much of the alarming information in the media contributes to shaping our thoughts and decisions through fear. Not only is this information sometimes fictitious, but it also appears to be the most prevalent information we receive and the information to which we pay the most attention. Being constantly surrounded by it creates a perpetual state of nervousness — an effect that, arguably, has been used as a reference point for our social perception.

Without being based on a specific event, Nerv! aims to capture that state of alertness. Inspired by an introspective evaluation of the collateral effects caused by overexposure to alarmist media, the piece aims to generate agitation from the beginning. With Nerv!, the goal is to represent and “visualize” this state of nervousness through an auditory image.

— Sebastian Quesada-Ruiz

My first Cello Sonata was composed in the summer of 2016, after a profound lesson with composer Frank Ticheli. At that lesson, he encouraged me to expand and discover a new harmonic language, one that finds balance between atonality and tonality. This was my first attempt at doing this and allowed me to try things that I hadn’t done in previous works.

From this attempt came a composition divided into three movements that explores different timbres of the cello, and how it beautifully melds with the piano accompaniment.

The Cello Sonata was premiered by Emmanuel Kwok and Daria Kiseleva in 2016 and was revised to be performed by Thomas Mesa and Michelle Cann in 2022. The second movement of this sonata is dedicated to my niece Naomi, who was born during the composition process of this work.

— Kevin Day

While taking a college seminar on Robert Schumann’s music, I listened to his Liederkreis Op. 39 based on the poetry of Joseph von Eichendorff. The first poem in this cycle contains the line “Wie bald, ach wie bald kommt die stille Zeit” (How soon, oh how soon will the quiet time come). I was intrigued by the connection between what it expressed and Schumann’s life struggle. As I grew older, the poem gained significance, as it speaks to the acceptance of life’s inevitable changes and losses. Will the Quiet Times Come was commissioned by Concert Artist Guild for cellist Rupert Thompson.

— Carlos Carrillo