Kirk creates string quartet music for ringtone project

Dec 13, 2013

Jonathon Kirk, North Central College assistant professor of music, is among 40 classical composers from around the country who were commissioned to write pieces for the Mobile Miniatures ringtone project.

Spektral Quartet, an ensemble-in-residence at the University of Chicago, has devised an alternative to routine ringtones enabling cellphone users to carry around new music in their pocket. In partnering with the 40 composers, the quartet creates, records and distributes tiny pieces of contemporary string quartet music that’s tailor-made for iPhones, Androids and other handheld communication devices. Kirk and the other composers submitted pieces lasting between three and 30 seconds in a wide range of compositional styles.

The Mobile Miniatures project is part of the quartet’s mission to provide living composers with new platforms for their music. The quartet will rehearse the submitted pieces before recording and mixing them in late January and early February. On March 29, the Spektral Quartet plans a release party at Constellation, a music venue on Chicago’s northwest side. The various Mobile Miniatures will be made available through the group’s website,, and eventually downloadable from iTunes and other digital music retailers.

Kirk has been teaching music at North Central since 2010. He received his B.A. from Augustana College, an M.M. from Eastman School of Music, an M.A. from Brown University and a D.Mus. from Northwestern University.