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Lute Facuty
At MIC for 14 years 10 months

Private Instruction

Available For

Bachelor's Degree in History.BA, Northwestern University
School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Additional Studies / Recent Awards / Recordings

Significant teachers and mentors: 
Throughout his involvement with music, Mr. Spears had the opportunity to study with some incredible artists. Over the years, he studied with Jacob Lindberg, Pat O'Brien, Ronn McFarlane, Paul O'Dette, Toyohiko Satoh, Kevin Mason, Mary Springfels, and Gail Gillispie.

Basic Teaching Philosophy or Special Music Interests/Specialties

For lute playing, the original sources are the guide. This often takes you down different paths from the modern conservatory way of doing things.

Professional Affiliations & Activities

Joel has performed both as a soloist, and with ensembles of varying sizes. He was a founding member of the ensemble Black Tulip, and has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Chicago Opera Theater, The Marion Consort, SDG Chicago Bach Project, Seraphic Fire, and many more.

In addition to playing for numerous live radio broadcasts on 98.7- WFMT, he has appeared at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Chicago Cultural Center's Preston Bradley Hall, the Bach Week in Evanston Festival, and the Handel Week Festival.

He recently collaborated with composer Scoot Gibbons on his soundtrack for the multimedia event, "Les Noces de Louis XIV".

As a lecturer and performer, he has appeared at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Madison Early Music Festival, and as Guest Artist and Lecturer at Grand Valley State University.

Interests/hobbies outside of music:
Drawing and painting, nature, native landscaping, cycling, yoga, movies, and books

Most memorable music moment:
Playing in the pit for Monteverdi's Orfeo, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 2002. 6 months after 9/11.

What do I love about lutes and guitars?
They are a pocket choir.