Spektral Quartet lets audiences explore the space ‘in-between’

"Spektral’s performance of the work was beautifully rendered, the entire piece played sweetly and earnestly. The effect was more that of a celestial conversation between instruments as proxies for their players, than successive bars of notes, however virtuously played."

Whitney Fishburn, DC Metro Theater Arts
Whistles, rumbles, bleeps: New Icelandic music sounds like no string quartet you’ve ever heard

"It’s wonderful work, not at all flashy, and a planetarium might be a perfect space for it: a room that is demarcated as a space apart from normal life. Like other pieces of Thorvaldsdottir’s I’ve heard, 'Enigma' sits on the border between concert music and installation art; it marshals sounds in ways that have little to do with the conventional pathways of Western classical music."

Anne Midgette, Washington Post
Goings on about town

"No more joyous chamber-music collection has arrived this year than 'Fanm d’Ayiti,' the exuberant, expressive song cycle that Nathalie Joachim recorded with Spektral Quartet, a brilliant Chicago-based string outfit."

Steve Smith, New Yorker
Spektral Quartet serves music of the past and present with confidence

"But eccentricities lurk here and there, and the quartet seemed eager to draw them out."

Michael Cameron, Chicago Classical Review
Best classical recordings of 2018

"By turns complex and accessible, historic and contemporary, 'Yo Soy La Tradicion' represents a major contribution from composer Zenon, in an uncommonly sensitive collaboration with the Spektrals."

Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
Spektral Quartet fetes an American original with Gloria Coates premiere

"The Spektral musicians (violinists Clara Lyon and Maeve Feinberg, violist Doyle Armbrust and cellist Russell Rolen) brought characteristic intensity, laser-like focus and technical sheen to Coates’s quartet, making the strongest possible case for this belated U.S. premiere."


Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review
Spektral Quartet gives a tasting of new album with saxophonist Miguel Zenón

"In the year that marks Leonard Bernstein’s centenary year, it’s worth noting that Bernstein’s contribution to American musical life lay not only in his composing and conducting, but also in his Herculean efforts to bring musical understanding to the public. If such efforts were worthwhile then, they are even more worthwhile now, as classical music increasingly struggles for an audience.

"If Thursday night’s concert at Constellation was any indication, the Spektral Quartet’s commitment, enthusiasm, and skill at executing such a project make them the right people for the job."


John Y. Lawrence, Chicago Classical Review
Miguel Zenón Premieres a Video For 'Viejo,' From His Stunning New Chamber Album

"Then he and the ensemble achieve a kind of meld, moving forward in one slow, swirling mass. The composition is an almost perfect showcase for the focused gleam of Zenón’s alto saxophone, and an excellent illustration of the possibilities in this instrumentation, when the string players are as intuitive and open as these."

Nate Chinen, WBGO
Miguel Zenón & The Spektral Quartet: Yo Soy la Tradición

"His [Miguel Zenón] drifting saxophone hovers across the rhythmic thrumming of the Chicago-based Spektral Quartet on a set of low-key chamber compositions whose formal qualities are modern but whose soul is ancient."

Morton Shlabotnik, Milwaukee Shepherd Express
Spektral Quartet - Bargemusic, June 2018

"The Spektral players' assiduous attention to texture and phrasing - not to mention their aggressive approach to the composer's unpredictable mood shifts - made for a riviting journey."

Bruce Hodges, The Strad
Spektral Quartet wraps Schoenberg series with metal virtuosity

"In the closing movement, the alternation of glassy harmonics and heavy-metal virtuosity proved a thrilling wild ride, as exhilarating in its jagged brilliance and 12-tone bravura as any barn-burning Romantic finale.

"A superb coda to the group’s ambitious and distinguished Schoenberg series. One looks forward to seeing what the Spektral Quartet will cook up for the 2018-19 season."

Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review
Spektral Quartet confirms Schoenberg's power in stirring concert

"This was an unexpected confirmation of the Schoenberg’s power. All it requires are keen and committed performers, which it got in the Spektral and soprano Kiera Duffy."

Alan G. Arnter, Chicago Tribune
Spektral Quartet and Wadada Leo Smith

"One of Chicago’s most adventurous chamber ensembles ... "

Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
Top Ten Performances of 2017

"In just a few short years, the Spektral Quartet has established itself as Chicago’s premiere string quartet....

"In March the adventurous ensemble brought to Chicago the belated local premiere of Morton Feldman’s six-hour String Quartet No. 2 at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Spektral managed to shave nearly an hour off of Feldman’s epic canvas, yet the performance never felt rushed, and the players ... brought polished refinement, scrupulous focus, and a terraced array of dynamics to Feldman’s score, exploring the extreme degrees of pianissimo where most of this music lives."


Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review
Spektral Quartet Transforms Esoteric Repertoire to Vibrant Performance

"Spektral Quartet takes the best of both worlds; the ensemble performs challenging works in a way that makes them intense, personal, and accessible.... a powerhouse performance."

Chelsea S. Waddelow, Classical Voice of North Carolina
Spektral Quartet packs the house for Schoenberg

"... this is an epic, hugely challenging score and Spektral put it across with bristling fire and conviction. The communicative playing kept the music moving forward, naturally leading one on to the next episode. The final section was joyous in its bumptious high spirits, and, with an artful deceleration, they conveyed the spare, quiet solace of the coda, beautifully played by all."

Lawrence A. Johnson, Chicago Classical Review
Spektral Challenges and Familiar Affirmation

"That question was answered convincingly as the program concluded with Ravel’s Quartet in F Major, which began clearly with creamy, rich sound and animated flowing execution and continued from strength to strength. The foursome executed the challenging second movement flawlessly; the third’s affecting lyricism, and the fourth’s rocket-powered energy were remarkable. This was as fine a performance of the Ravel Quartet as I’ve ever heard ..."

Leslie Gerber, Boston Musical Intelligencer
Spektral throws a new-music disco party

"The Spektral Quartet likes to put on performances that are not so much concerts as high-energy thrill rides for musically inquisitive listeners. The operative question behind all of them is: What makes a contemporary classical string quartet contemporary? The answers are many and varied, designed to provoke as often as delight."

John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
A quiet, 5-hour marathon scaled by Spektral Quartet at MCA

"The Everest of modern string quartets received its Chicago premiere at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Saturday night, and Spektral Quartet gamely scaled it in a mere five hours and eight minutes.... the account was more consistently sensitive to dynamics, color and nuance than on the two existing recordings — an achievement."

Alan G. Artner, Chicago Tribune
Serious Business

“... preposterous, charming and brilliantly performed.”

Helen Wallace, BBC Music Magazine
Serious Business

“... superb performances, vivid and strongly felt, convincingly argued and full of rich, characterful detail.”

David Kettle, The Strad
Serious Business

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

Laurence Vittes, Gramophone

“... a marvelous foursome.”

Joan Reinthaler, Washington Post
For Spektral Quartet, modern music mixes well with humor

“...something important about Spektral’s talented and ambitious musicians: serious about the music, not about themselves.”

David Weininger, Boston Globe
Frequency Festival in Chicago Offers the Complicated and Compelling

“The quartet proved that they have everything: a supreme technical command that seems to come easily, a capacity to make complicated music clear, and, most notably on this occasion, an ability to cast a magic spell ...”

David Allen, New York Times
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