Spektral Quartet turns ringtones into art with 'Mobile Miniatures'

The call in the middle of a movie. The late-night text message. The “ding” of an arriving email during an important conversation.

Cell phone alerts are often seen as unwelcome interruptions, not art. But University of Chicago ensemble-in-residence Spektral Quartet hopes to change that.

For its Mobile Miniatures project, the string quartet commissioned more than 40 contemporary composers—among them UChicago faculty members Shulamit Ran and Augusta Read Thomas and 2012-2013 Arts Incubator artist-in-residence Tomeka Reid—to create new works designed to be used as ringtones, alerts and wake-up alarms.

On April 3, Spektral Quartet offered live renditions of the mini masterpieces at Fulton Recital Hall, as well as iPad listening stations that allowed guests to explore the full catalogue of ringtones.

Russell Rolen, Spektral Quartet’s cellist and executive director, took a break from the festivities to discuss the project:

Print

Photos

Spektral Quartet

Spektral Quartet has commissioned more than 40 composers from around the country to create tiny new-music masterpieces that can serve as ringtones, alerts and wake-up alarms on mobile devices.

Courtesy of Spektral Quartet

Media Contact

Susan Allen
News Officer for Humanities, Divinity, and Libraries
News Office, University Communications
sjallen1@uchicago.edu
(773) 702-4009

Stay Connected

Follow UChicago’s social media sites, news feeds and mobile suite.