Joel Spears

Lute Instructor
Program Area: 
Private Instruction
With Music Institute of Chicago since: 

Joel attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, while also graduating from Northwestern University with a Bachelor's Degree in History.

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.

Awards and achievements: 

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.

Professional affiliations & activities: 

Joel is currently Lute Instructor at the Music Institute of Chicago, and Artistic Director of The Early Music Series at the Byron Colby Barn in Grayslake, Illinois. He is also the first theorbo teacher in the nation at the high school level, teaching at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, IL.

Interests outside of music: 

Drawing and painting, nature, native landscaping, cycling, yoga, movies

Favorite quote: 

"We tune because we care." (Jimi Hendrix)

Favorite composer or piece to play: 

Silvius Leopold Weiss, Johann Hieronymous Kapsberger, Ennemond Gaultier, Charles Mouton, Joanambrosio Dalza, Robert Johnson, John Dowland, and on and on...