Spektral Quartet's 2018/19 season

the world around us

Music possesses the uncanny ability to elevate our triumphs, ameliorate our troubles, and expand our understanding of this mortal coil. For the 2018/19 season, we investigate the world around us – environments both physical and metaphysical – through some of the most rousing music of the past and thrilling music of the present. From the verdant Chicago lakeshore to dreams of sun-bleached islands of the Mediterranean to the people and culture that engage us each and every day…we celebrate the spectrum of color, experience, and interaction that constantly shift and reassemble to shape our existence. These are not your ordinary string quartet concerts. This is THE WORLD AROUND US.


close encounters

Natural inflections:

music on the lakefront

September 15th, 2018

Openlands Lakeshore preserve

We gather together among the trees and wildflowers of the OpenLands Lakeshore Preserve, with the whisper of Lake Michigan waves as our backdrop, for the world premiere of Tonia Ko’s Plain, Air. Written expressly for this landscape and inspired by the elements that will surround us during this outdoor experience, Plain, Air pulls our focus toward the exquisite sounds of our natural environment that often go unnoticed.

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September 20th, 2018    Constellation

Drawing on the folk music of his native Puerto Rico, jazz phenom Miguel Zenón transforms traditional songs into alluring and often blistering numbers in his latest concert-length work, Yo Soy La Tradición, written for the five of us. The Once More With Feeling! series offers curious listeners of all kinds the opportunity to fall in love with an unfamiliar piece through lively on-stage interviews and a second performance of a new work on the same night, and for this show we perform selections of this radiant new work while unpacking its spirited folk origins.

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September 21st, 2018

segundo ruiz belvis cultural center

Equal parts record release party and socially minded fundraiser, Yo Soy La Tradición: A Benefit for Puerto Rico is the spirited culmination of the collaboration between us and jazz saxophone virtuoso Miguel Zenón. Though the news cycle has largely left our fellow citizens in the rear-view mirror, Puerto Ricans continue the tenuous process of rebuilding their communities after Hurricane Maria, and 100% of proceeds from this event will be directed to the Chicago Hurricane Aid for Puerto Rican Arts fund.



October 5th, 2018     rockefeller chapel

With a scope no less expansive than that of the heavens to terra firma, EARTHBOUND, LOOKING SKYWARD commences with Tonia Ko’s celebration of Chicago’s lakeshore ecology, Plain, Air, customized for this occasion to include a peaceable processional. Shifting perspective upward, Gloria Coates's mind-bending String Quartet No. 7 "Angels" for organ and quartet will envelop listeners in a celestial encounter by way of Rockefeller’s Chapel’s magnificent organ.



November 3rd, 2018    Berger Park Cultural Center

How would your day be enhanced if it began with sublime music, surrounded by a community of fellow arts lovers? Join us for an inspiring musical experience and revel in sunrise with a concert that inspires meditation, inquiry, and a deeper sense of togetherness, with stunning Lake Michigan as your backdrop. We’ll provide the top-shelf coffee and pastries, and after immersing ourselves in sumptuous morning music, we’ll walk out onto the shoreline together to greet the sun.



January 13th, 2019    constellation

Chicago is an unparalleled domain for composers honing their voice, and our ongoing residency at the University of Chicago continues to foster friendships and incubate partnerships that thrive to this day, drawing together the mutually essential communities of composers, performers, and collaborators. Each combination of Spektral plus one (composer), +1 (collaborator) creates a potent new cocktail of energetic and sonic possibilities. We mark our sixth year as ensemble-in-residence with a performance of six world premieres by UChicago composers, each featuring a virtuoso guest artist on clarinet, cello, guitar, voice, bassoon, and percussion.  


close encounters

Facets of Earth & Sound

February 2nd, 2019     Chicago Mosaic School

What if a concert was an opportunity to ignite the body as well as the mind – a chance to work with your hands rather than just folding them in your lap? For this interactive Close Encounters show, we'll provide the musical inspiration as you discover this ancient art form, with guidance provided by the Chicago Mosaic School's master teachers. Be creative alongside us – and exit with your own piece for future archaeologists to uncover.

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February 10th, 2019     UChicago's fulton Hall

The long tradition of the string quartet is one of its greatest assets, and perhaps no composer casts such a long and glorious shadow as the inimitable Ludwig van.

Hans Thomalla’s mesmeric Bagatellen excavates and transforms tiny artifacts from this tradition, while David Fulmer’s verse, verses draws on Beethoven’s signature high-contrast approach for his inspiration. As these new works interact with Beethoven’s vital and effervescent Opus 135, both the past and the present adopt a more dazzling hue.

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close encounters



March 23rd, 2019     stony island arts bank

Salons are stimulating affairs in which artists of diverse disciplines gather to showcase and expound on their work – and this season, we aim to catapult the best of what the salon has to offer into the 21st century. In partnership with Chicago-based artist and community-builder Theaster Gates, we'll spotlight some of the city’s most charismatic creatives in poetry, dance, and visual art in an environment that draws voices and traditions into dynamic conversation with one another – and unveil a world premiere by recent Chicago Symphony composer-in-residence Samuel Adams.




May 4th, 2019    Uchicago's international house

In 2017, we packed our bags and flew to Rome to perform Chris Trapani’s travelogue of his island journeys, Isolario: Book 1. This transportive work – capturing Chris’s travels to exotic locales like the Greek island of Gavdos and the Turkish island of Akdamar, featuring live electronics and field recordings – was so beguiling that we all decided to embark on Book 2. Paired with this world premiere is a similarly stunning work, the second movement of which harkens back to the island of Cypress: Schubert’s landmark “Rosamunde” quartet.

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The Spektral Quartet Talent Show

June 15th, 2019    the hideout

We close our season by inviting you on to the stage to carve out three of your 15 minutes of fame. All talents are fair game, and, just to even the playing field, we will perform on instruments other than our own. The future of Chicago’s beloved Hideout is uncertain, so we've selected one of our all-time favorite venues to celebrate you in all your glorious creativity.


In Spektral's Neighborhood

ongoing throughout the 18/19 season

The members of Spektral Quartet are proud to call Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood our home – we live here (well, 3 out of 4 of us do, anyway), and rehearse here nearly every day.  This season we will inhabit the neighborhood with informal pop-up concerts and hangouts at local coffee shops, civic spaces, and schools. Come visit us on our home turf and meet the people in our neighborhood!

Check our Concerts page for more details