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.
First attracting national attention in 2013 with Mobile Miniatures – a project in which over 40 composers including David Lang, Shulamit Ran, and Nico Muhly were commissioned to write string quartet ringtones for mobile devices – Spektral has enhanced its scope and scale with each passing season to include new works from luminaries including Anna Thorvaldsdottir, George Lewis, and Augusta Read Thomas as well as launch three unique concert series in Chicago: Close Encounterselevates listeners’ enjoyment of non-mainstream music through gastronomy, architecture, and nature in exclusive settings; the Dovetail Series unites Chicago’s historically segregated north and south sides by way of improvisation and devised collaborations; and Once More, With Feeling! answers contemporary music’s most daunting hurdle by presenting an unfamiliar work twice on the same program, with a charismatic composer interview in between.
Distinguished artistic collaborators include 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), Mark DeChiazza (choreographer with credits including Kronos Quartet, John Luther Adams, and Steven Mackey), and Miguel Zenón (saxophonist, MacArthur and Guggenheim fellow)
Committed to not only sustaining, but transforming the string quartet tradition, Spektral Quartet is in-demand for its presentations on inclusion, progressive programming, and entrepreneurship at leading institutions around the country including Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect, the New World Symphony, and the National Association of Schools of Music. For the upcoming 2019-20 season, the ensemble will investigate the elusive angles of identity, presenting works ranging from fascinating art objects to intimate autobiographies, feelings of other-ness to moments of unity and the vast cosmos surrounding us to the infinite universe within.