SPEKTRAL QUARTET actively pursues a vivid conversation between exhilarating works of the traditional canon and those written this decade, this year, or this week. With the New York Times writing that “they have everything: a supreme technical command that seems to come easily, a capacity to make complicated music clear, and, most notably...an ability to cast a magic spell”, Spektral is known for creating seamless connections across centuries, drawing in the listener with charismatic deliveries, interactive concert formats, an up-close atmosphere, and bold, inquisitive programming.
2016 saw the release of Serious Business (Sono Luminus), the foursome’s most ambitious recording project to date, which was nominated for a 2017 GRAMMY award.
In 2017, Spektral became one of the few quartets in the world to perform Morton Feldman’s six-hour masterpiece, the String Quartet No. 2, at both the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Toledo Museum of Art. Of this notable achievement, the Chicago Tribune writes, “...the account was more consistently sensitive to dynamics, color and nuance than on the two existing recordings — an achievement.”
In the 2017/18 season, Spektral performed the full string quartet cycle of Arnold Schoenberg to capacity crowds nationally and around Chicago, prompting The Strad Magazine to write, “It is a testament to the passion that the foursome brought to one of the composer’s most knotty works that the audience was clearly engrossed.”
Notable current and upcoming commissions include works by Tonia Ko, Christopher Trapani, Eliza Brown, and Anna Thorvaldsdottir.
In 2017, The Chicago Tribune named Spektral Quartet classical music’s “Chicagoans of the Year” in part because of the group’s creation of three new series around the city – each highlighting a unique mission.
The Close Encounters series presents chamber music in the way it was first intended–in an intimate space with food and drink, and no shortage of whimsy. These events incorporate extra-musical elements, such as a custom beer brewed from a 1908 Viennese recipe, the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, and a painting party – all in stunning venues around Chicago.
Born from conversations with audience members, Once More, With Feeling! offers listeners that essential ingredient to falling in love with a new piece of music: a second listen. With live conversations with the composer and two performances of the music, this series goes deep with some of Spektral’s favorite collaborators including Eliza Brown, Wadada Leo Smith, Lisa Coons, and Miguel Zenón.
In partnership with Theaster Gates’s Rebuild Foundation, The Dovetail Series is a collision and collusion of musical traditions, with the quartet trading sets with an artist from Chicago’s south side before meeting in the middle for a devised, joint performance.
In addition to its 2016 GRAMMY-nominated album Serious Business (Sono Luminus), the ensemble is regarded for forward-thinking endeavors such as Mobile Miniatures, which rallied more than forty composers from across the nation, including David Lang, Augusta Read Thomas, Nico Muhly and Shulamit Ran, to write ringtone-length pieces available for download to mobile devices. As ardent advocates for new music in their home city, the group recorded its debut album, Chambers (Parlour Tapes+), in 2013, featuring works by dynamic, Chicago-based composers. Other discography includes two albums on the Nimbus Records label – Of Being Is A Bird and Ritual Incantations – celebrating the work of composer Augusta Read Thomas as well as From This Point Forward (Azica Records) with bandoneon virtuoso Julien Labro. Most recently, Spektral appears on composer Anthony Cheung’s portrait album, Cycles & Arrows (New Focus Records) and jazz saxophonist/composer Miguel Zenón’s Yo Soy La Tradición (Miel Music).
It is central to Spektral Quartet’s mission to cultivate a love of, and curiosity for, unfamiliar sonic territory and exceptional works of the past among the next generation of string players. Currently ensemble in-residence at the University of Chicago’s Department of Music, the quartet has also participated in residencies at the New World Symphony, Stanford University, Northwestern University, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and the Walden School, among others.
Spektral Quartet is represented exclusively by Alliance Artist Management.
SPEKTRAL QUARTET is
Clara Lyon (violin) Maeve Feinberg (violin)
Doyle Armbrust (viola) Russell Rolen (cello)