"The MuSE String Quartet, which has played together for less than a year and only for occasional concerts, was impressive in its ability to pull together as well as allow individual members to shine at the right moments. This was especially evident on Cristina Spinei’s Bootleg Sugar Lips, premiered that night. Spinei’s piece was solidly minimalist in its aesthetic with a keen sense of large-scale form. Perhaps my favorite moment was when the more constant pulse stopped and the quartet seemed to take a step back, breathe, and restart another gradual build-up of sound one player at a time. I was especially drawn to the bursting accents in the cello over more static repetition in the rest of the quartet. Spinei was effective in creating enticing patterns and then drawing attention to a particular part, thereby creating a sense of large-scale melody and individual voices within a full texture. As someone who does not have a strong affinity for minimalism, Bootleg Sugar Lips drew me in and left me at the edge of my seat with its not-overstated yet spectacular ending (which I wouldn’t feel right giving away)....Both Kitamura and Spinei displayed traits that are often lacking from young composers: a solid and satisfying sense of form, pulling a lot out of only a little material, and a great ear for what sounds they want to get out of the string quartet."
- David Pearson, I CARE IF YOU LISTEN
"Set to Cristina Spinei's percussive, pulsing score and beautifully costumed (the women preen in peacock-blue) and lit by Mark Zappone and Randall G. Chiarelli, it is filled with wheeling arms and often dazzlingly frenetic movement."
- Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times
"Ms. Spinei's quirky score echoed both in the choreography and in a film projected throughout the dance featuring stars, pulsating shapes of light, molecules and diaphanous clouds (above). Slowly awakening, the dancers (all in black) soon become extremely active. The witty, percussive music drives the energy forward."
- Philip Gardner, Oberon's Grove
"M-Pulse showcased the inspired moves of PNB’s Kiyon Gaines set to a challenging score by emerging composer Cristina Spinei. Spinei’s music features many exposed instruments, including piano and other percussion. In this first repertory work for the company, Gaines uses a smattering of principals and soloists, relying mainly on the very talented corps. The dance moves quickly. Each beat of music provides the impulse for the movement – a roller coaster of percussive music punctuated with some occasionally sweet-sounding chords."
- Gigi Berardi, The Official Blog of Pacific Northwest Author
"The opening concert's centerpiece was the premiere of Petrarca a promising work by a student, Cristina Spinei. Ms. Spinei's setting of four Petrarch sonnets - one spoken as a prelude, the rest sung - is couched in a chromatic, sometimes almost Impressionistic language that suggests two worlds at once. The vocal line, sung by Patrick Cook, a tenor, wiggles around the text in an accent of faux antiquity reminiscent of Stravinsky's vocal writing in "Oedipus Rex." But the instrumental scoring, for flute (Emily Thomas), harp (Michelle Gott) and viola (Eleanor Kaye), speaks in a mildly modernist accent, with gracefully angular turns and invitingly ambiguous harmonies."
- Allan Kozinn, The New York Times