Theo Espy (he/they) is a three-time GRAMMY-nominated violinist, concert programmer, and chamber music specialist. Theo spent six years as Violinist & Head of Concert Production for the Chicago-based Spektral Quartet. In his time with the quartet he coordinated performances in over 120 venues worldwide and co-curated multiple original concert series. He collaborated with a wide range of composers and collaborators and was involved in commissioning many new works for string quartet including pieces by Anna Þorvaldsdóttir, Augusta Read Thomas, Samuel Adams, Tonia Ko, Eliza Brown, Christopher Trapani, Charmaine Lee, and inti figgis-vizueta
During his tenure with Spektral Quartet, Theo performed in  venues such as The Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts, Miller Theatre, and National Sawdust, had appearances at the American Academy in Rome, Reykjavík Arts Festival, and Big Ears Festival, and shared the stage with notable collaborators Nathalie Joachim (GRAMMY-nominee), Miguel Zenón (GRAMMY-nominee & MacArthur Fellow), Claire Chase (MacArthur Fellow), and indie singer-songwriter Julia Holter. Theo has also collaborated with / recorded strings for the bands Crumb, Pixel Grip, IVERSON and Carlile.

Theo studied at the Universität Mozarteum in Salzburg and earned his degree in Violin Performance from the New England Conservatory. He attended Sarasota Music Festival, Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, the Composer’s Conference Contemporary Performance Institute, and Lucerne Music Festival, and was invited back to the Composer’s Conference as a chamber coach and  member of the Conference Ensemble.
     Photos by Ariel Robbins 

In his free time, Theo enjoys writing, photography,  distance running, and tending to his plants.

Notable Performances:

  • Performed Milton Babbitt's "The Joy of More Sextets" at the Library of Congress with Winston Choi (2018)

  • Appeared on NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts with Spektral Quartet and Miguel Zenón (2019)

  • Presented the world premiere of Anna Thorvaldsdottir's first string quartet "Enigma" at the Adler Planetarium with Spektral Quartet (2022)

  • Gave the Chicago premiere of Morton Feldman's 6-hour long String Quartet No. 2 at the Museum of Contemporary Art (2017)

  • Performed sets at Big Ears Festival with collaborators Nathalie Joachim and Miguel Zenón (2022)

  • Guest performer at the American Academy in Rome with Spektral Quartet (2017)

  • Performed new music by George Lewis, Samuel Adams and Anthony Cheung at National Sawdust (2017)

  • Appearances with Spektral Quartet at Time:Spans Festival, Reykjavík Arts Festival, The Kennedy Center, Miller Theatre, Denver Friends of Chamber Music, Cal Performances and The Art Institute of Chicago

Polaroids by Emily Nichols