Presenting the Petrichord Quartet

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • The Petrichord Quartet works together very closely to perfect their performance, practicing twice a week – sometimes more – with coaching from Professor Steve Koh. The group consists of a violist, two violinists and a cellist.

  • From left to right: violinist Lauren Geerlings, cellist Turner Sperry, violinist Emma Becker and violist Julian Perez.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right

ERIN MCRAE, Staff Writer

The Petrichord Quartet is a string musical ensemble at UNI that started in 2021. They are available by request for gigs both on and off campus. Emma Becker plays violin, Julian Perez is on viola, Turner Sperry plays cello and Lauren Geerlings rounds out the group as another violinist. 

Emma Becker, the group’s public relations and social media manager,  grew up with a love for music. Like her other quartet members, she discovered a talent for music at an early age. 

“I got involved in music in fourth grade, which was also when I started playing the violin. My status in music is also a little different from the other members because I am the only one who is not a music major. I’m actually a public relations major, so while my career goals are a little different, I knew that staying involved in music was something that I wanted to keep up with after high school,” Becker said. 

The group started out through the inspiration of a mutual professor, Becker mentioned. “We initially started as a quintet through the idea of Dr. Julia Bullard who used to teach as the viola professor at UNI. She thought we would be a great group of musicians to perform together and we formed in the fall of 2021,” Becker said. “However, we started performing for gigs and while we did our first one as a quintet, we eventually started performing as a quartet more regularly and that’s how we got started.”

From Vivaldi to Maroon 5, the group plays a wide variety of genres. A full list of the group’s repertoire is available on their website. As the group covers a lot of material, they keep to a rigorous rehearsal schedule to ensure they are ready to perform. 

“As a group, we practice twice a week for a total of three hours, sometimes more on the weekends if needed, and then we also have a coaching with Dr. Steve Koh for an hour each week as well. Practice for us is a lot of detailed work. It mainly consists of working on playing as if we have ‘one brain’ like we are a single unit,” Becker said.

“A lot of what we do to help with this is knowing what musical passages we share with each other, using eye contact to acknowledge other members, and making sure to communicate on how to interpret the music so that we all can work together to bring it into fruition and maintain our connectedness with each other.” Becker credits the group’s closeness for their musical cohesiveness. 

According to Becker, the Petrichord Quartet’s  mutual love for music blends into a seamless four-person music machine. “I was talking to the other members about masterclasses we have done with the Elias String Quartet who visited UNI last week. We have been lucky to perform for them in a masterclass twice now. One of the things they critiqued us on the first time we played for them last year was regarding our ensemble communication. They said we needed to be more present with each other and acknowledge one another when we were playing. Just last week, we were told that our communication and understanding of one another was really solid. Knowing that this was something that we took a long time to get better at, it is incredibly rewarding having someone else acknowledge the hard work that was put in,” Becker said. 

The Petrichord Quartet spends hours practicing and perfecting their craft. Their closeness has allowed them to excel on campus. “My favorite part of being in the quartet is that it has really taught me more about music than anything else I have experienced. I have grown so much as a musician because of working with my colleagues and every rehearsal allows me to think critically about musical interpretation which is something I really struggled with before joining the group,” Becker said. 

Those interested in booking the Petrichord Quartet, or want to learn more about their group can visit their website: