Sunday, December 5, 2010 Harlem Quartet to “premiere 'The Figure' by American composer Judith Lang Zaimont”

[Harlem Quartet]
By Janelle Gelfand
December 5, 2010
The 4-year-old Harlem Quartet is still in its infancy by string quartet standards. But already, the ensemble has played at Carnegie Hall, the White House and on the Christmas morning 'Today Show.' In 2008, the Harlem Quartet played a concert at the Library of Congress in Washington, on a set of rare Stradivarius instruments owned by the library. 'The matching (of the instruments) and the sound were just incredible. That was something,' says the quartet's violinist Ilmar Gavilán, ticking off highlights of their career so far.

"And of course, Carnegie Hall is such a landmark. We enjoyed that a lot, too. We have been so lucky to play every year. Playing for President Obama and the first lady was just a wonderful experience. The playing part was nothing compared to actually privately meeting them and shaking their hands. Words wouldn't come out of anyone's mouth." On Tuesday, the Harlem Quartet makes its debut with Chamber Music Cincinnati in Werner Recital Hall at the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music. The musicians' concert program, ranging from Beethoven to Wynton Marsalis to 'Take the 'A' Train,' reflects their mission: To discover new music, highlight minority composers and attract a new generation of chamber music fans.

"The Harlem Quartet was founded in 2006 by the Sphinx Organization - a non-profit dedicated to increasing minority participation in classical music. Each of the quartet's members - Gavilán and Melissa White, violinists; Juan-Miguel Hernandez, viola; and Paul Wiancko, cello - was a first prize laureate of the Sphinx Competition.” “In their Cincinnati concert, the quartet will also perform Billy Strayhorn's 'Take the “A” Train,' a jazz number that the musicians recorded on their first CD for White Pine Music in 2007. And they'll premiere 'The Figure' by American composer Judith Lang Zaimont. The quartet is planning to record Zaimont's music with Awadagin Pratt, CCM professor of piano.”

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