Spektral Quartet

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Spektral Quartet
OriginChicago, United States
GenresClassical, Contemporary classical music
Occupation(s)String quartet
Instruments2 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello
Years active2010–present
LabelsSono Luminus, Azica Records, Parlour Tapes+
MembersClara Lyon (violin)
Maeve Feinberg (violin)
Doyle Armbrust (viola)
Russell Rolen (cello)
Past membersAurelien Fort Pederzoli (violin)
J. Austin Wulliman (violin)

Spektral Quartet is a string quartet based in Chicago comprising Clara Lyon (violin), Maeve Feinberg (violin), Doyle Armbrust (viola) and Russell Rolen (cello).[1] It is the ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago's Department of Music, where it has served since 2012.[2]

The New York Times said of a 2016 performance of Beat Furrer's String Quartet No. 3 and Hans Thomalla's Bagatellen for string quartet, "The quartet proved that they have everything: a supreme technical command that seems to come easily [and] a capacity to make complicated music clear..."[3] Spectral Quartet says it "actively pursues a vivid conversation between exhilarating works of the traditional canon and those written this decade, this year, or this week."[4]

The quartet is perhaps most widely known for its 2014 project Mobile Miniatures, in which 47 composers including Nico Muhly, David Lang, and Anna Thorvaldsdottir were commissioned to write ringtone-length pieces that were then recorded by Spektral Quartet and made available for download as ringtone, alarms, and text-message alerts on mobile devices.[5]

The group recorded its debut album, Chambers (on Parlour Tapes+),[6] in 2013 in collaboration with composers Hans Thomalla, Marcos Balter, LJ White, Chris Fisher-Lochhead, and Ben Hjertmann. Also in 2013, the group released From This Point Forward (on Azica Records),[7] with bandoneon/accordion virtuoso Julien Labro and saxophone player Miguel Zenón. The band appeared on Swiss violin soloist Rachel Kolly d'Alba's 2015 record, Fin de siècle (Aparté),[8] performing Ernest Chausson’s Concerto for Violin, Piano, and String Quartet and is featured on albums from composers Augusta Read Thomas and Ryan Ingebritsen.

In 2016, the group released Serious Business (on Sono Luminus),[9] which was nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award.[10] The album that explores humor in classical music through the compositional lenses of Josef Haydn, Sky Macklay, Chris Fisher-Lochhead, and David Reminick. The Strad magazine said of the album, "these are superb performances, vivid and strongly felt, convincingly argued and full of rich, characterful detail."[11] The Spektral Quartet created the GirlForward organization as a challenge to raise awareness to refugee girls who have resettled in Chicago, Illinois and in Austin, Texas.


  • Chambers (2013) Parlour Tapes+[12]
  • From This Point Forward (2013) Azica Records
  • Serious Business (2016) Sono Luminus[14]

Albums featuring Spektral Quartet[edit]

Articles and Reviews[edit]


  1. ^ "Ensemble". Spektral Quartet. Retrieved 2016-06-21.
  2. ^ "Spektral Quartet | University of Chicago Presents". chicagopresents.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2016-06-21.
  3. ^ Allen, David (2016-03-01). "Review: Frequency Festival in Chicago Offers the Complicated and Compelling". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-06-21.
  4. ^ "Ensemble". Spektral Quartet.
  5. ^ "Mobile Miniatures". Spektral Quartet. Retrieved 2016-06-20.
  6. ^ "CHAMBERS, by Spektral Quartet". Parlour Tapes+. Retrieved 2016-06-21.
  7. ^ "Julien Labro & the Spektral Quartet From this Point Forward | Azica Records Online". azica.com. Retrieved 2016-06-20.
  8. ^ "Chausson – Franck | Aparte Music". www.apartemusic.com. Retrieved 2016-06-20.
  9. ^ "Sono Luminus - Serious Business". www.sonoluminus.com. Retrieved 2016-06-20.
  10. ^ "Chicago a prominent presence among 2017 Grammy nominations". Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Serious Business. Fisher-Lochhead: Hack. Haydn: String Quartet in E flat major op.33 no.2 'Joke'. Macklay: Many Many Cadences. Reminick: The Ancestral Mousetrap Spektral Quartet - The Strad". The Strad. Retrieved 2016-06-20.
  12. ^ "CHAMBERS, by Spektral Quartet". Parlour Tapes+. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  13. ^ "Julien Labro & the Spectral QuartetFrom this Point Forward | Azica Records Online". azica.com. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  14. ^ "Sono Luminus - Serious Business". www.sonoluminus.com. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  15. ^ "Chausson – Franck | Aparte Music". www.apartemusic.com. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
  16. ^ "Augusta Read Thomas: Of Being Is A Bird". www.wyastone.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-22.