On her first Pentatone album, pianist Tamara Stefanovich presents a highly personal selection of solo works by Bach, Bartók, Ives and Messiaen. Influences shows how these extraordinarily original and idiosyncratic composers let themselves be inspired by the exterior world, thereby demonstrating how authenticity comes from looking outside as well as inside. The repertoire spans from Bach’s embrace of Italian musical elements in his Aria variata alla maniera italiana, Bartók’s incorporation of folk elements in his Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, and Messiaen’s use of Hindu rhythms in Cantéyodjayâ to the collage of marching bands, sounds of trains and machinery, church hymns, ragtime and blues in Ives’ first piano sonata. In all cases, the exterior influences lead to deeply original and personal sonic galaxies. In that respect, the pieces presented here underline how identity results from a constant dialogue with our surroundings, ever changing and enriching our perceptions of ourselves and the world.