“Both traditional and playful, timeless and of the moment.”-PopMatters
Minneapolis, August 30, 2016— Virtuosic composer/saxophonist Colin Stetson reimagines Henryk Górecki’s iconic Symphony No. 3 (best known from the 1992 Nonesuch Symphony of Sorrowful Songs recording), a heartbreaking modern masterpiece with an unexpected and expansive sonic palate. Stetson draws on a uniquely constructed all-star ensemble that employs electric guitars, synthesizers, drums, and woodwinds to create transformative extensions to the emotional core of the piece. Stetson’s 12-member ensemble features some of the most in-demand musicians in the country: Colin Stetson (alto/bass saxophones, contrabass clarinet), Shahzad Ismaily (synth, guitar), Megan Stetson (mezzo-soprano voice), Matt Bauder (tenor/baritone saxophones, clarinet), Dan Bennett (tenor/baritone saxophones, clarinet), Sarah Neufeld (violin), Rebecca Foon (cello), Gyda Valtysdottir (cello), Ryan Ferreira (guitar), Grey MacMurray (guitar), Justin Walter (electronic valve instrument, keyboards), and Greg Fox (drums). The ensemble performs in the William and Nadine McGuire Theater on Friday, September 30, 8 pm. The performance is copresented with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series.
Stetson was born and raised in Ann Arbor, and spent a decade in San Francisco and Brooklyn honing his formidable talents as a horn player, working extensively live and in studio with a wide range of acts including Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, TV On the Radio, Feist, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, The Chemical Brothers, Animal Collective, Jolie Holland, Sinead O’Connor, LCD Soundsystem, The National, Angelique Kidjo, and David Gilmore. Meanwhile he has developed an utterly unique voice as a soloist, principally on saxophones and clarinets, his intense technical prowess matched by his exhilarating and emotionally gripping skills as a songwriter. He settled in Montreal in 2007.
In 2008 Aagoo records released Stetson’s debut, the first in his New History Warfare album cycle. New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges arrived via Constellation in Spring 2011, kicking off a hectic year of solo engagements and year-round touring as part of the Bon Iver band. The album was met with universal acclaim from critics across a spectrum of jazz and indie rock/pop cultural spheres: “pure revelation” according to All About Jazz, the album was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize, and landed on year-end lists at Pitchfork, Tiny Mix Tapes, SPIN and the Village Voice. His frequent appearances on stages at SXSW, All Tomorrow’s Parties, and countless stops on the international jazz festival circuit cemented his reputation as a versatile and virtuosic player while bringing his solo work to a broad international audience.
Stetson’s astounding physical engagement with his instruments (chiefly bass and alto saxophones) produces emotionally rich and polyphonic compositions that transcend expectations of what solo horn playing can sound like. Stetson is equally at home in the avant jazz tradition of players who have pushed the boundaries of the instrument through circular breathing, embouchure, etc. (i.e. Evan Parker, Mats Gustafsson) and at the nexus of noise/drone/minimalist music that encompasses genres like dark metal, post-rock and contemporary electronics (i.e. Tim Hecker, Ben Frost – both of whom have mixed or remixed Stetson recordings).
April 2013 saw the release of New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light via Constellation, completing the conceptual and narrative arc of the series and constituting a definitive realization of his unparalleled musicianship and stunning skill as a composer. It has been received with exemplary recognition and was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize.
In April of 2015, Constellation Records released the album Never were the way she was, the first recording of Colin’s duo project with long-time collaborator Sarah Neufeld. Never were the way she was charts an expansive sonic trajectory with a multiplicity of structures and voicings that belies the fundamental economy of two acoustic instruments combining in real time. The resulting musical chronicle powerfully establishes its own spatial and temporal horizon; Stetson and Neufeld offer up an impressively immersive integration of composition, performance, timbre and texture. Never were the way she was is a sum quite definitively and thrillingly greater than its parts.
Stetson was part of the Walker’s in-gallery music series Sound Horizon in May 2012.
Tickets to Colin Stetson are $25 ($20 Walker members and Liquid Music subscribers) and are available at walkerart.org/tickets, liquidmusicseries.org or by calling 612.375.7600.
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series develops innovative new projects with iconoclastic artists in unique presentation formats. Liquid Music performances invite adventurous audiences to discover the new and the fascinating within the flourishing landscape of contemporary chamber music.
Drinks at the Lounge
The Walker Lounge (in the former Gather by D’Amico space) is the place to be before and after the performance. Grab a cocktail before the show, or stay afterward for a drink and conversations.
Free Gallery Admission
Extend your art experience—come back with your ticket within seven days of a performance, and get in free to the Walker galleries.