Harlem Quartet To Perform at Santa Fe College September 24, 2016

Harlem Quartet To Perform at Santa Fe College September 24, 2016

Photo: Suzanne Wagor

The multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-talented international performers the Harlem Quartet, whose mission is to diversify and create new audiences for classical music, will blend their strings with Aldo López-Gavilán’s piano in concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, in the Fine Arts Hall at the Northwest Campus of Santa Fe College, 3000 NW 83 Street, Gainesville. The event is highlighted by the reunion of two Cuban brothers, Ilmar Gavilán and Aldo López- Gavilán.

Tickets are $15 for the orchestra and mezzanine, $15 for the balcony, $9 for seniors and children in all sections, and free for SF College students. For ticket information, call the Box Office at 352-395-4181. Tickets may be purchased on line at:

All seasoned solo artists, the current members of the quartet are Ilmar Gavilán and Melissa White (violin), Jaime Amador (viola) and Felix Umansky (cello).

Ilmar Gavilán and his younger brother, Aldo López-Gavilán, were born in Cuba to a family of internationally acclaimed classical musicians. Ilmar won all the national violin competitions in which he participated and left Cuba at 14 to study at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow; later studies took him to Spain and New York City, where he co-founded the Harlem Quartet. Aldo stayed in Cuba where he mastered both classical piano repertoire and the Afro-Cuban jazz tradition and became a composer; he has been described as a “piano prodigy” and hailed by the London Times as “a formidable virtuoso.” With relations between the U.S. and Cuba beginning to thaw, Aldo is reuniting with Ilmar this year to tour with the Harlem Quartet.

Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Melissa White is a founding member of the quartet who has been an acclaimed soloist with many of the nation’s leading orchestras including the Boston Pops and the Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore and Atlanta symphonies. Known for her versatility and improvisation skills, she has collaborated with artists such as Stanley Clarke and Bruno Mars.

Jaime Amador is distinguished among the most recent generation of musicians to emerge from Puerto Rico. Born in San Juan, he studied at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music and then at the Julliard School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music and the New England Conservatory. Before joining the Harlem Quartet in 2007, he played with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra.

A native of Carmel, Indiana, Felix Umansky spent six seasons as member of the award-winning Linden String Quartet before joining the Harlem Quartet. One of his missions is to bring a wide range of classical music to as many people as possible. In addition to playing in concert halls, he plays everything from Bach to modern selections on the street and in libraries, coffee shops,

restaurants and bars.

The repertoire for the quartet’s tour with López-Gavilán includes “Almendra” by Abelardo Valdes, “A Night in Tunisia” by Dizzy Gillespie, “The Girl from Ipanema” by Antônio Carlos Jobim, “Take the A Train” by Billy Strayhorn and several compositions by López-Gavilán.

The Harlem Quartet has been praised for its “panache” by The New York Times and described by the Cincinnati Enquirer as “bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent.” The group debuted at Carnegie Hall in 2006 and has since performed throughout the U.S. and in France, the U.K., Belgium, Panama, Canada and South Africa, collaborating with artists such as Itzhak Perlman and Misha Dichter along the way.

Expanding into jazz to reach a wider audience, the quartet worked with jazz pianist Chick Corea in two recording projects that included “Mozart Goes Dancing,” which won a Grammy as Best Instrumental Composition in 2013.

The concert by the Harlem Quartet is sponsored in part by SF College and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture and Visit Gainesville, a Tourist Development Tax Grant from the Alachua County Board of County Commissioners in conjunction with the Alachua County Tourist Development Council.

For more information about the Harlem Quartet, see: or

For more information about the quartet’s concert at Santa Fe College, call Coordinator of Cultural Programs Raul Villarreal, 352-395-5355.