Home / News / Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and James McAlister To Play Select Dates This Summer, “Mercury” Video Debuts

Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and James McAlister To Play Select Dates This Summer, “Mercury” Video Debuts

To celebrate the release of their forthcoming, collaborative album Planetarium, Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and James McAlister will play a limited run of very special dates, accompanied onstage by strings and brass, this summer.

Dates kick off July 10 at the Philharmonie de Paris with further shows July 18 in New York at Celebrate Brooklyn!, July 20 in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and July 21 at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA. Visit planetariumalbum.com for further details.

Mercury,” the second track to be released from Planetarium, and its accompanying video premiere today—watch here. Planetarium is set for release June 9 via 4AD—preorder the album here.

Planetarium unites Stevens’ vocals, McAlister’s beats, Dessner’s guitar performance, and Muhly’s instrumental compositions in a far-reaching musical journey: from lush piano ballads to rock anthems, classical cadenzas to electronic beats with Stevens’ distinctive vocals providing a center of gravity.

The album revolves around the ideas Stevens’ lyrics explore: mythology, astrology, science, astronomy and the intricacies of human consciousness. Listen to “Saturn,” the first track to debut from the album, here.

Planetarium began when Dutch concert hall Muziekgebouw Eindhoven commissioned Muhly to create a new piece and he enlisted friends Dessner, Stevens and McAlister, all of whom had been looking for the opportunity to collaborate on a larger scale.

After sketching the framework of the song cycle and performing the piece as a band—flanked by a string quartet and seven trombones—in various forms, the quartet put the project on hold for several years. Returning to the raw material in 2016, Stevens and McAlister reversed their typical process, taking recordings of the live show and adapting to the studio. “We had recorded all the arrangements and the live parts in a studio after our last performance,” says Stevens, “so years later when we all kind of settled down, we said, ‘let’s open Pandora’s box.’”

In the time between Planetarium’s conception and release, Muhly wrote a new viola concerto and a commission for the Metropolitan Opera; Dessner released Trouble Will Find Me with The National, toured extensively and moved to Paris; and Stevens recorded and released Carrie & Lowell and, with McAlister, toured the album worldwide.


July 10                                                           Paris, FR                                    Philharmonie de Paris

July 18                                                       Brooklyn, NY         Celebrate Brooklyn! – Prospect Park

July 20                                                     Los Angeles, CA                  Hollywood Forever Cemetery

July 21                                                        Oakland, CA                                                 Fox Theater


1. Neptune

2. Jupiter

3. Halley’s Comet

4. Venus

5. Uranus

6. Mars

7. Black Energy

8. Sun

9. Tides

10. Moon

11. Pluto

12. Kuiper Belt

13. Black Hole

14. Saturn

15. In the Beginning

16. Earth

17. Mercury

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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