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Spektral Quartet

Chicago, IL         

Since its inception, the Spektral Quartet has sought out the discourse between the great works of the traditional canon and those written this decade, this year, or this week. Creating connections across centuries, the group further invites its listeners in with charismatic deliveries, interactive concert formats, an up-close atmosphere, and bold, inquisitive programming.

The ensemble is regarded for its forward-thinking endeavors including the Mobile Miniatures project, which rallied more than forty composers from across the US including David Lang, Augusta Read Thomas, Nico Muhly and Shulamit Ran to write ringtone-length pieces for download to mobile devices. In addition to finding vehicles for bringing classical music into everyday life, the Spektral Quartet prioritizes immersion and inclusivity through close-proximity seating and delivers the majority of its Chicago concerts in vibrant, unconventional venues.

As ardent advocates for composers within its home city, the group recorded its debut album, Chambers (Parlour Tapes+), in 2013 featuring works by Hans Thomalla, Marcos Balter, LJ White, Chris Fisher-Lochhead, and Ben Hjertmann. That same season saw the release of the South American jazz and tango-themed From This Point Forward (Azica Records), with bandoneon/accordion virtuoso Julien Labro and saxophone luminary Miguel Zenón. Spektral Quartet appears on Swiss violin soloist Rachel Kolly d’Alba’s 2015 record, Fin de siècle (Aparté), performing Ernest Chausson’s Concerto for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet and will be featured on upcoming albums from composers Augusta Read Thomas and Ryan Ingebritsen. January 2016 marks the unveiling of the group’s fourth full-length album, Serious Business (Sono Luminus), an illumination of humor in classical music including Josef Haydn’s “The Joke” quartet and inventive new commissions from Dave Reminick, Sky Macklay, and Chris Fisher-Lochhead.

Keen on frequently treading outside the lines of classical music, Spektral Quartet partnered with avant-pop artist Julia Holter in the 2014/15 season for composer Alex Temple’s Behind the Wallpaper at the Ecstatic Music Festival in NYC and the Liquid Music series in St. Paul, MN. In 2015/16, the ensemble invigorates its ongoing collaboration with Julien Labro, and will team up with GRAMMY-winning jazz artist Billy Childs for the esteemed Jazz at the Logan series at the University of Chicago.

Titled UP CLOSE, the Spektral Quartet’s 2015/16 season is studded with new works from composers like Hans Thomalla, Mikel Kuehn, Ryan Ingebritsen, Tomas Gueglio Saccone, and Anthony Cheung as well as cornerstones of the string quartet repertoire by Beethoven, Schubert, Prokofiev, Mendelssohn, and Bartók. Season highlights on the road include a residency with the JACK Quartet at Stanford University, a teaching residency at the New World Symphony, and an appearance with flutist Claire Chase on the University of Maryland’s Common Tone series.

The Spektral Quartet proudly serves as ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago’s Department of Music.

Sky Macklay: Many Many Cadences

We met Sky Macklay during our week-long residency at The Walden School in New Hampshire – a bucolic retreat we occasionally threaten to move to and illegally homestead – eager to workshop and perform her Many Many Cadences, and also sporting emotional subdural hematoma from the preparation of it. Here you have each instrument base-jumping from the upper reaches of their range, pinging rapid-fire, tonal cadences all the way down in rhythmic unison, only to scramble back up for another adrenaline fix. Heaping nothing but cadences on top of one an

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Mobile Miniatures – The Ringtone Project

Mobile Miniatures is the project that puts mini-masterpieces of contemporary music right in your pocket!

In 2013 we commissioned more than 45 composers from around the country to reimagine the world of ringtones, alerts, and alarms, and wow did they deliver. From Pulitzer Prize-winners to Pitchfork chart-toppers, these are the brightest musical minds creating music for everyday life.

Mobile Miniatures propagates contemporary classical music out into the world and provides bite-sized entry points to entice new listeners

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Philip Glass: String Quartet No. 2

Philip Glass’s haunting and melancholic Quartet No. 2, shot on an appropriately bleak day in Chicago by Hamid Bendaas and Michael Hwang. Composed in 1983 in New York City, this piece was originally conceived to be performed accompanying Fred Neumann’s adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s 1979 novella with the same name.

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