We Made Music – You Made Mosaics!

So, as it turns out, it’s WAY fun to have our audiences making art right alongside us! We hit the jackpot by partnering with the Chicago Mosaic School for our most recent Close Encounters event – titled Facets of Earth & Sound – and if the participant response was any indication, this was one of the most inspiring and entertaining Chicago-area classical music events of the year.

As with our Painting Party last season, we were bowled over by the levels of focus and creativity that listeners brought to the table. We performed excerpts of Beethoven’s enigmatic Op. 135 and Hans Thomalla’s on-the-precipice-of-silence Bagatellen while our friends – many of them Spektral first-timers – designed not one, but two original mosaics, inspired by the performance. Or “performances” as it were, since we played each piece twice so that the assembled could immerse themselves in the sonic environment before chipping away at glass and smalti.

We hope you’ll join us for our next Close Encounters show, but in the meantime, enjoy these photos by Loyola University photographer Mary Grace Ritter!

An Unforgettable Morning: Sunrise Together!

On November 3rd, we met over fifty music fans at 6:30am (!!!) at the Berger Park Cultural Center to usher in the sunrise together.

We lucked out with idyllic weather, and the crowd was open-eared and surprisingly bright-eyed given the hour. We began with a group vocal meditation, led by our friend Charmaine Lee, performed two movements of the Ravel quartet, and then shifted into an improvisation to greet the rising sun.

First off, every concert should begin with a vocal meditation. It’s hard to put words to how this collective experience of singing/humming together focused the energy of the room, but there was universal agreement that it was a unique, elevating moment.

And then there’s the way the emerging sunlight illuminated faces and instruments around the room in a bright orange glow. It certainly heightened the experience of playing Ravel’s sumptuous harmonies…

Most meaningful, though, was the sense of togetherness that it inspired. The conversations and enthusiastic responses we enjoyed as we walked out to the Lake Michigan shoreline were unlike any we can remember since we became a quartet.

This was an experience we will never forget….

Behind the Scenes: Miguel Zenón

Behind the Scenes: Miguel Zenón

We have a brand-new record with saxophonist Miguel Zenón – Yo Soy La Tradición – dropping on September 21st, but this album release show is actually a benefit for the Puerto Rican victims of Hurricane Maria... a chance to celebrate new music and help out our fellow citizens!

With the date fast approaching, memories of our rehearsals and recording session have resurfaced. We'll delve into Miguel's experience with the fallout from the hurricane – which hit just days before we started working together – but today we'd like to share the rehearsal photos taken by our friend and supporter, Bob Watson.

CMI 2018: 'Music Made Visible' Photo Gallery

CMI 2018: 'Music Made Visible' Photo Gallery

We had an incredible time presenting our fifth annual Chamber Music Intensive in partnership with the University of Chicago Department of Music and the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, with support from the Associated Chamber Music Players. This year we had an absolutely lovely collection of participants, our second go-around teaching alongside pianist Daniel Pesca, and had the great good fortune of inviting violin pedagogue Lucy Chapman as our guest artist. And that's only the half of it...

(photos by interns Doyle Armbrust and Maeve Feinberg)

Holy Cow! We Made a Record with Miguel Zenón: A Photo Blog

This weekend, we recorded a new album with one of our jazz heroes, Miguel Zenón. Yo Soy La Tradición is a concert-length work inspired by the folk traditions of Miguel's native Puerto Rico, and it's a piece we've fallen head-over-heels for. We think you're really going to love this album when it drops in early 2018.

Because of the timing, we spent a good amount of our hang talking about the hurricane damage in Puerto Rico, which is heartbreaking. We hope you'll consider joining us in contributing to the relief effort. Here is one organization that may not yet be on your radar.

Also, we clearly can't be trusted to be around all this gear (see below)...

DOVETAIL SERIES Photo Gallery - Inaugural Concert with Maggie Brown

We are still abuzz from the launch of our new DOVETAIL SERIES with vocalist Maggie Brown and composer/keyboardist Calvin Brunson! Our goal was to create a musical exchange–one in which we are learning as much as we are presenting–and we couldn't have asked for a more enthusiastic crowd, or beautiful space.

Fortunately, we have talented friends, and photographer Marc Perlish was on hand to capture the evening. Marc is one of those artists that is just as skillful in a live setting as one in which he has control over the elements, and in this case, he transformed a particularly dusky lighting situation into these bright, energetic photos you see below. 

We have three DOVETAIL shows coming up this season, so keep an eye out for details. This project has us all fired up, and we can't wait to tell you who we're collaborating with this year!

2017 Chamber Music Intensive – Photo Gallery

This July, we presented our third-annual Chamber Music Intensive in partnership with the University of Chicago's Department of Music and the Logan Center for the Arts–and it feels like we're seriously hitting our stride. The four-day festival is geared toward college-age and amateur string players and pianists, and this year our theme was The Romantics. Amidst all the Brahms and Borodin and Dvořák, we were treated to masterclasses and an on-stage interview with Guarneri Quartet first violinist Arnold Steinhardt, a dynamic presentation on the music-centric literature of the era from Beyond the Score founder Gerard McBurney, a field trip to hear the Grant Park Symphony...and an epic rainstorm for the ages.

We can't wait for next year, and if you have photos you'd like to contribute to the CMI gallery below, shoot them over to doyle@spektralquartet.com. See you next summer!

Spektral 2016/17 Season Photo Gallery!

We've had an incredible season–Grammys, Feldman, Rome, et al–and we thought we'd pull some photos off our glowing rectangles to share with you. 

For 2017/18, we're launching the ONCE MORE–WITH FEELING! series at Constellation, and we need your support to make it happen. For it, we'll fly in a composer, perform a piece from their catalog at least twice, and in the middle discuss what inspired its creation, and how it works. This series was born out of feedback from our audiences–that if only they could hear a new piece more than once, they'd be able to digest and appreciate it more–and this new series is our answer. We are seeking to raise $3,000 by the end of this week in order to fly Wadada Leo Smith, Eliza Brown, Lisa Coons, and LJ White to town next season. Thank you so much for considering a donation to get this project launched!