Harlem Quartet

Harlem Quartet

7 p.m. Wednesday, July 31, 2019 | Polsky Theatre

General Admission - $10 in advance, $15 day of show, * $25 VIP ticket, $5 for 18 and under

Individual Tickets

* $25 VIP ticket includes 1 ticket for concert VIP seating and reception admission for 1 adult and your festival student(s) immediately following concert to meet the Harlem Quartet and Festival faculty.

New York-based Harlem Quartet, currently serving a three-year residency at London’s Royal College of Music, has been praised for its "panache" by The New York Times and hailed in the Cincinnati Enquirer for “bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent.”

Harlem Quartet Members
Ilmar Gavilán, violin
Melissa White, violin
Jaime Amador, viola
Felix Umansky, cello

Since its public debut at Carnegie Hall in 2006, the Harlem Quartet has thrilled audiences in 47 states as well as in the U.K., France, Belgium, Brazil, Panama, Canada, Venezuela and South Africa.

Harlem Quartet’s mission is to advance diversity in classical music, engaging young and new audiences through the discovery and presentation of varied repertoire that includes works by minority composers. This quality makes them a perfect fit for the residency created in partnership between the Carlsen Center at Johnson County Community College and the Heartland Chamber Music Festival, which takes place on the JCCC campus for nine days each summer.

Program for the July 31 Concert

William Bolcom: Three Rags for String Quartet
Debussy: String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10
Guido López-Gavilán: Cuarteto en Guaguancó
Brahms: String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat Major, Op. 67

Passion for work with young people has made the quartet a leading ensemble in both educational and community engagement performances. In this capacity, the quartet has written several successful grants, including a Cultural Connections Artist-In-Residence grant from James Madison University and a 2016 Guarneri String Quartet grant from Chamber Music America; the latter allowed the quartet to participate in an extended performance and educational residency in Mobile, Alabama, that included a close partnership with the Mobile Symphony Orchestra.

Each member of the quartet is a seasoned solo artist, having appeared with such orchestras as the Boston Pops and the Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, National, New World and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras. Alongside its regular activities as a chamber ensemble, Harlem Quartet performs a variety of works written for solo string quartet and orchestra. In June 2012, with the Chicago Sinfonietta under Music Director Mei-Ann Chen, the quartet gave the world premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story as arranged for string quartet and orchestra by Randall Craig Fleischer. It reprised its performance of that score in September 2012 with the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra under Fleischer’s direction, and again in December 2012 with the Santa Fe Concert Association. Chicago Sinfonietta and the quartet recorded the West Side Story arrangement, along with works for string quartet and orchestra by Michael Abels and Benjamin Lees, for the Cedille Records release Delights and Dances.

In addition to performing a varied menu of string quartet literature across the country and around the world, Harlem Quartet has collaborated with such distinguished artists as violinist Itzhak Perlman; cellist Carter Brey; clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera; pianist Misha Dichter; and jazz legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton, whom they joined for their six-month "Hot House" tour that began at Tanglewood in the summer of 2012. Later that year Harlem Quartet made its debut at the Montreal Jazz Festival with another jazz virtuoso, Stanley Clarke. And most recently, the quartet performed with legendary bassist John Patitucci and with the critically acclaimed Shanghai Quartet. On that occasion, at Montclair State University in March 2017, composer William Bolcom remarked that Harlem Quartet can “perform the classics very well, but few other quartets swing correctly when playing music that requires that, and few other groups can call up so many authentic playing styles from all over the world. They’re sifting through our rich culture, bringing musical nuggets from all corners to delight their very wide audience.”