Yet another string quartet breaks up

Yet another string quartet breaks up


norman lebrecht

November 13, 2021

The Chicago-based Spektral Quartet has announced they will disband at the end of this season.

They say: ‘Over time, we’ve come to realize that our paths are leading us in different directions,” stated the group in a collective statement. “As one might imagine, the reasons for this are complex and numerous. We believe that given our circumstances, this is the best decision for the four of us, and therefore also for Spektral.

‘Over the past 11 years, we have endeavored to become more than your friendly neighborhood string quartet. We believe in art-making as a form of building community, and have tried to put this into practice with a seriousness of purpose and a welcoming embrace, and always with a side of whimsy. We recognize just how fortunate we are to have pursued such meaningful projects and contributed to the cultural fabric of our great city of Chicago with the artistic, financial, and moral support of so many of you. And so we wish to express our profound gratitude.’

Their decision follows the breakup of the Artemis Quartet in Germany and the retirement of the Emersons in New York.

Covid is taking a collateral toll.

Photo: Dan Kullman


  • henry williams says:

    this is sad. many people prefer
    chamber music to orchestral music.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      Fortunately, there are a great many excellent quartets at work these days.

      As for the Spektral’s disbanding: is there any evidence that this was part of COVID’s “collateral toll”??

  • Gerald Stein says:

    The Quartet has been an adventurous, brave ensemble. The group won’t be easily replaced.

  • Brettermeier says:

    “Covid is taking a collateral toll.”

    That’s some… daring interpretation given that you wrote this just some lines above:

    “They say: ‘Over time, we’ve come to realize that our paths are leading us in different directions,” stated the group in a collective statement.”

    So you’re saying they’re just making stuff up? Or is there more information out there that’s needed to come to this conclusion?

    • Maria says:

      Covid has led people onto very different paths asessing their lives. – if they have any sense. No one can just pick up from where they left off. We are changed people now, and priotities have changed – or should have done. Wish them all well.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Did they mention Covid 19?

  • Bill says:

    “reasons for this are complex and numerous” but you pin the blame on covid. Uh huh. What about all the other groups that called it a day before 2019?

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    A very sad ending. These are very hard working and dedicated musicians who collaborated with many composers and played an important part in the Chicago music scene. I hope all of them well in their future endeavors as individual musicians.

  • CYM says:

    « Well, maybe they should have practice seriously, instead of lounging around and read tons of books …
    Look at them !! – Pathetic ! »

  • Jim C says:

    Did Artemis actually disband or just call a pause?

    Am I the only one too who’s bugged by the use of all this pretentious and bumptious language, like “building community”?

    • Andrew says:

      Yes, it’s only you. Spektral was absolutely a lynchpin in the musical community of their home city of Chicago, and I’m sorry you find this language irksome.

      • B.Romberg says:

        Nope. Me too. I’m a freelancer in Chicago. Always liked the energy and dedication of this group. But the language they use to communicate very alienating and pretentious.

  • Charles Goodwin says:

    Linking “the retirement of the Emersons” to “Covid collateral toll” is simply ludicrous.
    On the Emerson’s website the reasons for their retirement in 2023 is fully explained – they want to perform as individuals and they want to teach. This change of direction isn’t difficult to understand given that in 2023 Lawrence Dutton will be 69 and Philip Setzer and Eugene Drucker will be past 70.

    NOWHERE do they mention Covid … so why does Slipped Disc keep pushing this agenda?

  • Neil Yates says:

    By virtue of talent each one of these musicians should be able to make a good living either from their work as a quartet or from other musical employment. But it is an unfortunate reality that classical musicians struggle to exist while rappers buy customized Rolls-Royces for themselves and Sir Elton John gets honoured yet again by the Queen. If you love classical music and can only work as a classical musician you are both sweetly blessed and enormously cursed!

  • Plush says:

    They got lost in the contemporary music morass and went down the micro tonal tunnel on a trip to nowhere. Releasing on cassette, these hipsters made music that required so many edits that it was organized noise. Hyped and now headed down.

    • Andrew says:

      You’ve obviously not bothered to acquaint yourself with more than the merest fraction of what this ensemble was able to accomplish in 11 years. Do better.

  • Jeremy Stone says:

    The “Pandemic Twilight of the String Quartet” narrative doesn’t bear examination. The Spektral have announced an artistic divergence. The Emersons reached the end of the road. The Artemis had been through several changes (including the departure of its founder, Runge) and is planning to reform with new members. Where is the apocalyptic common factor?

  • Rick Lightburn says:

    I blame Yoko Ono.