Colin Stetson (born 1975) is a Canadian-American saxophonist, multireedist, and composer based in Montreal. He is best known as a regular collaborator of the indie rock acts Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Bell Orchestre, and Ex Eye. In addition to saxophone, he plays clarinet, bass clarinet, French horn, flute, and cornet.
Stetson has released various solo releases, including his debut and subsequent albums New History Warfare Vol. 1, 2, & 3, a collaborative studio album with violinist Sarah Neufeld entitled Never Were the Way She Was (2015), SORROW: A Reimagining of Henryk Górecki's 3rd Symphony (2016), and All This I Do for Glory (2017). Since 2013, Stetson has contributed the scores to several films and television series.
Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and currently based in Montreal, Quebec, Stetson started taking lessons at age 15. He attended the University of Michigan School of Music with a full scholarship, where he joined Transmission Trio. He also played with the groups Boostamonte and the People's Bizarre.
Stetson has performed and recorded with dozens of artists, including Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, Feist, Bon Iver,
His extended saxophone techniques cover advanced circular breathing, multiphonics, altissimo, microtones, (reed) vocalizations, percussive valve-work, clicking keys, and growling. The overall effect led The New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane to describe Stetson's score to the film Hereditary as having been seemingly "scored for violins, percussion, a humpback whale, and bats."
His first solo album, New History Warfare, Vol. 1, was released in 2008. His second and third albums, New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges and New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light, were released by Constellation Records in early 2011. On June 16, the album was named as a longlisted nominee (one of 40) for the 2011 Polaris Music Prize. On July 6, the album was named as a shortlisted (one of 10) nominee for the 2011 award. Stetson was chosen by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that he curated in December 2011 in Minehead, England. The final album of the trilogy, New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light, was released by Constellation Records in April 2013, and was a longlist nominee for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize.
April 2015 saw the release of Never Were the Way She Was, the first recording of Stetson's duo project with his wife and long-time collaborator Sarah Neufeld.
Stetson's album All This I Do for Glory was released on April 28, 2017.
While his recordings have been featured in numerous films and TV episodes, he has also produced original scores for a wide variety of films, where he has utilized a rich amalgam of his signature sonic characteristics, enhanced by various arrangement and instrumentation, orchestral and otherwise.
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