Theo Espy (he/they) is a multi GRAMMY-nominated violinist based in San Francisco. Theo spent six years as a member of the Chicago-based Spektral Quartet; through his work with the quartet he collaborated with a wide range of composers and performers 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 he 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, Miguel Zenón, Julia Holter, and Claire Chase. Theo has also collaborated with / recorded strings for the bands Crumb, Pixel Grip, IVERSON and Carlile.

Theo studied at the Universität Mozarteum in Salzburg with Paul Roczek, and at the New England Conservatory in Boston with Lucy Chapman. 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 faculty ensemble.
     Photos by Ariel Robbins 

In his free time, Theo enjoys drawing with micron pens, film photography, tending to his plants, electronic music production, and hanging out in the woods.

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