Spektral Quartet brings modern music to the masses


On April 3, University of Chicago ensemble-in-residence Spektral Quartet will transform ordinary mobile phones into a concert venue.

For their latest project, Mobile Miniatures, the ensemble 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. Through it, the group hopes to bring the kaleidoscopic sounds of contemporary classical music into everyday life.


For Thursday’s performance, the quartet will serve up live performances of these diminutive opuses by composers, including UChicago faculty members Shulamit Ran and Augusta Read Thomas and 2012-2013 Arts Incubator artist-in-residence Tomeka Reid. Other composers featured in the project include Nico Muhly, Julia Holter, Nicole Mitchell, Bernard Rands, David Lang and Thomas Gueglio.


Alongside iPad listening stations, where concertgoers can hear any of the more than 50 ringtones, installations of vintage phones will offer listeners curated audio from artistic luminaries such as playwright Idris Goodwin; Museum of Contemporary Art curator Naomi Beckwith; poet Virginia Konchan; composer Alex Temple; and The Ringtone Dialectic author Sumanth Gopinath. In addition, a UChicago graduate composition student will invite audience member input as they compose a ringtone live in Fulton Hall.


The Mobile Miniatures event begins at 8 p.m. 
in Fulton Recital Hall, 1010 E. 59th St. The event is free with UChicago ID, and admission includes five free ringtone downloads. Following the event, all the ringtones from the project will be available for download at SpektralQuartet.com.