Chicago’s Spektral Quartet to perform in San Diego for first and last time


Art and postcards. Audience and community. Traditional classical music and contemporary works.

Although it may seem difficult to fit all of these elements into a single concert, “Something to Write Home About” by the Spektral Quartet was created to do just that.

Those attending the performance will receive personalized pens, writing surfaces and postcards in the hope that messages inspired by the music composed during the concert will be sent to friends everywhere.

San Diegans can participate when La Jolla Music Society performs “Something to Write Home About” at Baker-Baum Concert Hall on Thursday.

“As performers, the cornerstone of our philosophy is to connect with the audience in unexpected ways,” said Clara Lyon, Spektral violinist. “We offer extra-musical events to spark curiosity about music and create a comfortable and safe space for everyone.

“By asking the audience to respond to the guidelines of the music itself, they will hopefully be inspired to send (the postcards) to people in their orbit – or, perhaps, people they don’t. haven’t seen or spoken to in a long time.. Hopefully this will create a little ripple effect outside of the concert hall.

The quartet has been attentive to the visual arts since its beginnings 12 years ago. Spektral publicity photos often have a distinctive style, featuring its members in inventive poses and settings, often with different hairstyles and hair colors.

The group includes its two remaining co-founders, violist Doyle Armbrust and cellist Russell Rolen, as well as violinists Lyon and Theo Espy, who joined in 2016. Spektral has regularly recruited artists to design its posters and album covers. , most often from his hometown of Chicago.

La Jolla Music Society performs “Something to Write Home About” by the Spektral Quartet on May 26.

(Courtesy of Daniel Kullman)

For “Something to Write Home About”, visual artists from this region designed the postcards. The mix also includes postcards by Seattle-based multimedia artist Eliaichi Kimaro.

Ironically, Spektral’s first time performing in La Jolla will likely be his last here. After this season, the quartet will definitely bow out.

“All foursomes are in a notoriously difficult business,” Lyon said. “Ours is especially challenging because we’re a nonprofit and part of our mission is to self-produce shows here in Chicago. So we have a lot of administrative work in addition to touring and full production. shows here at home.

After the end of its final season, the group will complete several ongoing projects, including albums, an art film collaboration, and virtual reality and web projects.

With Spektral’s disbandment on the horizon, violinist Espy expressed feelings of both satisfaction and anticipation.

“We are fortunate to look back on the quartet’s tenure and rejoice in how our vision has been unified and how many projects have come to fruition as we intended,” said Espy, who previously performed under Maeve’s name. Feinberg.

“It’s bittersweet and complicated. But we brought these projects to life and that’s something we can be collectively proud of. We may feel emboldened to go on and do other things.

Espy noted that “Something to Write Home About” was only performed live and in person once, at the University of Iowa, before COVID-19 pandemic restrictions took hold. stop Spektral’s tour. The quartet realized the program fit the virtual format and presented it online several times.

Selections from Thursday’s concert will include works by well-known composers Debussy and Schubert, as well as Arthur Russell, who died in 1992, and Tomeka Reid, a cellist and composer from Chicago.

“We’re trying to connect the tradition of a classical Western string quartet with works written today,” Lyon said, in a joint interview with Chicago’s Espy. “It’s a beacon for us. With this program, we thought it would be best to limit the music to shorter selections to get more variety.

“It’s about trying to be as inclusive as possible by creating a real sense of community, in the room and beyond.”

La Jolla Music Society presents Spektral Quartet’s “Something to Write Home About”

When: 8 p.m. Thursday

Or: Baker-Baum Concert Hall, The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center, 7600 Fay Ave., La Jolla

Tickets: $36-$70

Call: (858) 459-3728

In line:

Wood is a freelance writer.


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