Sufjan Stevens has announced the upcoming LP release of Reflections, his score to his frequent collaborator Justin Peck’s ballet of the same name. It’ll be out on May 19th via his own label Asthmatic Kitty, and as a preview, you can hear pianists Timo Andres and Conor Hanick perform the record’s lead single “Ekstasis” now.

Peck, whose recent choreography credits also include Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake, wrote Reflections for two pianos and eleven dancers. The Houston Ballet originally commissioned the show, which premiered on March 21st, 2019. Piano might not be Stevens’ first instrument (fun fact: it was the oboe), but the format lends itself to moving and whimsical compositions. Per his words, the score is meant to emanate “energy, light, and duality,” although he certainly doesn’t take himself too seriously here: The closing track is called “And I Shall Come to You Like a Stormtrooper in Drag Serving Imperial Realness.”

“I’m constantly thinking about bodies moving through space when I’m writing for ballet — that is what has informed this music, first and foremost,” Stevens adds in a press release. “Although I’ve never taken a lesson, the piano was my first true love. Having [Andres and Hanick] at my disposal was an exciting opportunity and gave me a real catharsis about the expansiveness of the instrument.” Pre-orders for the LP are ongoing.

“Ekstasis” is an upbeat and energizing number, chock full of grandiose runs that take full advantage of the piano’s naturally booming, vulnerable sound. Below, check out the song as well as a live performance video, and then keep scrolling to see the full details for Reflections.

Some of Stevens’ older work is also coming to the stage this summer: His 2005 album Illinois is being adapted into a musical theater production, set to premiere this June at Bard College in New York.

Reflections Artwork:

Reflections Tracklist:
01. Ekstasis
02. Revanche
03. Euphoros
04. Mnemosyne
05. Rodinia
06. Reflexion
07. And I Shall Come to You Like a Stormtrooper in Drag Serving Imperial Realness

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