Photo by Jocelyn Chuang

Photo by Jocelyn Chuang

The twice-Grammy nominated Spektral Quartet actively pursues a vivid conversation between exhilarating works of the traditional repertoire and those written this decade, this year, or this week. Since its inception in 2010, 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.

With a tour schedule including some of the country’s most notable concert venues such as the Kennedy Center, Miller Theater, Library of Congress, and NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, the quartet also takes great pride in its home city of Chicago: championing the work of local composers, bridging social and aesthetic partitions, and cultivating its ongoing residency at the University of Chicago.

Named “Chicagoans of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune in 2017, Spektral Quartet is most highly regarded for its creative and stylistic versatility: presenting seasons in which, for instance, a thematic program circling Beethoven seamlessly coexists with an improvised sonic meditation at sunrise, a talent show featuring Spektral fans, and the co-release of a jazz album traversing the folk traditions of Puerto Rico.



  • New York Times: “they have everything: a supreme technical command that seems to come easily, a capacity to make complicated music clear, and, most ability to cast a magic spell”

  • Gramophone: “geeky, highly-interactive, creative and collaborative...unlike anything its intended audience – or anyone else – has ever heard.”

  • Chicago Tribune: “The Spektral Quartet likes to put on performances that are not so much concerts as high-energy thrill rides for musically inquisitive listeners.”

  • Chicago Classical Review: “In just a few short years, the Spektral Quartet has established itself as Chicago’s premiere string quartet.”

  • The Strad Magazine: “ is sheer pleasure for listeners, especially with the Spektral players’ ear-tickling precision.”


  • Claire Chase (flutist, International Contemporary Ensemble founder, MacArthur fellow)

  • Theaster Gates (artist, Rebuild Foundation founder)

  • Julia Holter (critically-acclaimed songwriter and Domino Records recording artist)

  • Nathalie Joachim (composer, Flutronix co-founder, Eighth Blackbird flutist)

  • Miguel Zenón (saxophonist, MacArthur and Guggenheim fellow)


  • Over 85 composers commissioned for new work, including: Samuel Carl Adams (Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra), Marcos Balter (International Contemporary Ensemble, Amazonas Filarmonica), Anthony Cheung (Ensemble Intercontemporain, New York Philharmonic), Tonia Ko (Minnesota Orchestra, WildUp), George Lewis (IRCAM, Talea Ensemble), Hans Thomalla (Stuttgart Opera, Arditti Quartet), Augusta Read Thomas (Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony), Anna Thorvaldsdottir (New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic), and Christopher Trapani (BBC, Ensemble Modern).


  • Including: American Academy (Rome), Miller Theater, Library of Congress, Kennedy Center, Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), NPR Tiny Desk Concerts, Detroit Symphony’s THE CUBE, and Art Institute of Chicago.


  • Mobile Miniatures: commissioning and recording of over forty composers to write ringtone-length pieces for download to mobile phones – bringing classical and experimental music into everyday life

  • Complete Schoenberg Cycle: contextualizing the visionary composer’s four landmark string quartets both musically, and by means of cuisine, architecture, and painting.

  • Morton Feldman’s String Quartet No. 2: delivering the Chicago premiere of this staggering, 6-hour-long masterpiece

  • The Dovetail Series: an ongoing musical dialogue between Chicago’s north and south sides – a collision and collusion of cultures in partnership with Theaster Gates’s Rebuild Foundation.

  • Once More, With Feeling! Series: offering concertgoers a rare second listen on the same night that reveals the subtle layers of a new piece through on-stage conversations with the composer.

  • Close Encounters Series: presenting exclusive, intimate, and unforgettable concert events connecting listeners with the music and its cultural moment through art, architecture, and cuisine.


  • Ensemble-in-Residence at the University of Chicago’s Music Department since 2012

  • Residencies at Stanford University, the New World Symphony, Northwestern University, Western Michigan University, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, among others.

  • Guest speakers at the National Association of Schools of Music, New World Symphony, and University of Iowa

  • Local residencies including a social-justice-driven songwriting project at Kenwood Academy on Chicago’s South Side, as well as a season-long neighborhood residency featuring free concerts across Spektral’s home base of Chicago’s Edgewater area.

  • Founders of the Chamber Music Intensive at the University of Chicago: an annual four-day chamber music workshop for collegiate and amateur musicians featuring guest artists such as Arnold Steinhardt (Guarneri Quartet), Kim Kashkashian (international viola soloist), Shmuel Ashkenasi (Vermeer Quartet), and Lucy Chapman (Marlboro Festival, New England Conservatory)


  • Chambers (2013) (Parlour Tapes+)

  • Mobile Miniatures (2014) (self-released)

  • From This Point Forward (2014) (Azica Records)

  • Serious Business (2016) (Sono Luminus) – Nominated for a 2017 GRAMMY award

Spektral Quartet Also Appears On

  • Franck & Chausson: Fin de siècle (2015) (aparté)

  • Augusta Read Thomas: Of Being Is A Bird (2016) (Nimbus Records)

  • This Is You (2016) (Room 40)

  • Augusta Read Thomas: Ritual Incantations (2017) (Nimbus Records)

  • Anthony Cheung: Cycles & Arrows (2018) (New Focus Records)

  • Yo Soy La Tradición (2018) (Miel Music) – Nominated for a 2019 GRAMMY award

  • Fanm d’Ayiti (2019) (New Amsterdam)

Spektral Quartet is represented exclusively by Alliance Artist Management.



Clara Lyon (violin)    Maeve Feinberg (violin)

Doyle Armbrust (viola)    Russell Rolen (cello)