Colin Stetson

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Colin Stetson
Colin Stetson 05N1467.jpg
Colin Stetson at the mœrs festival in 2010.
Background information
Born Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.
Genres jazz, experimental, avant-garde jazz, indie rock
Instruments bass saxophone
Labels Constellation Records
Associated acts Sarah Neufeld, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Bell Orchestre, Tom Waits
Website Colin Stetson website

Colin Stetson is an American saxophonist and multireedist. He is best known as a regular collaborator of the indie rock acts Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, and Bell Orchestre. In addition to saxophone, he plays clarinet, bass clarinet, French horn, flute, and cornet.

Stetson has released a trilogy of solo releases, entitled New History Warfare, a collaborative studio album with violinist Sarah Neufeld, entitled Never Were the Way She Was (2015) and Sorrow, a "reimagining" of Górecki's 3rd symphony (2016).


Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and currently based in Montreal, Quebec, Stetson attended the University of Michigan School of Music, where he joined Transmission Trio. He also played with the groups Boostamonte and the People's Bizarre.[1]

Stetson has performed and recorded with dozens of artists, including Tom Waits, Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, Feist, Bon Iver, My Brightest Diamond, Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Jolie Holland, Sinéad O'Connor, LCD Soundsystem, The Chemical Brothers, Animal Collective, The National, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Angélique Kidjo, Kevin Devine, Beanie Burnett, BADBADNOTGOOD, and Anthony Braxton.[citation needed]

His extended saxophone techniques cover advanced circular breathing, multiphonics, altissimo, microtones, (reed) vocalisations, percussive valve-work, clicking keys, and growling.[2]

Solo career[edit]

His first solo album, New History Warfare, Vol. 1, was released in 2008. His second album, New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges, was 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.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5]

Score work[edit]

Stetson and regular collaborator Sarah Neufeld composed the score to the 2013 film Blue Caprice and the film "Outlaws and Angels" 2016.[6]


Solo albums/As leader[edit]

Colin Stetson at Sled Island Music and Arts Festival, Calgary, 2013.

Collaborations with other artists[edit]

As sideman[edit]

With Animal Collective

With Arcade Fire:


  • IV (2016)

With Bon Iver

With David Gilmour

With Esmerine

  • La Lechuza (2011)[7]

With Feist

With Jolie Holland

With Sarah Neufeld

  • The Ridge (2016)

With Timber Timbre

With Tom Waits

With TV on the Radio


  1. ^ Huey, Steve. "Transmission Biography". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ Dennis, Zel (February 6, 2012). "Colin Stetson - The History of Warfare Volume 2 - Judges". Retrieved September 22, 2014. 
  3. ^ "2011 Polaris Music Prize Long List announced". AUX.TV. Retrieved 2016-04-26. 
  4. ^ ATP curated by Jeff Mangum,; accessed April 19, 2015.
  5. ^ "Polaris Music Prize Unveils 2013 Long List". Exclaim!, June 13, 2012.
  6. ^ Lindsay, Zoladz (September 13, 2013). "Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld Talk Blue Caprice Score". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 14, 2015. 
  7. ^ "CST080 ESMERINE: La Lechuza | Constellation Records". Retrieved 2016-04-26. 

External links[edit]