ILMAR LOPEZ-GAVILAN JUNCO
Harlem Quartet advances diversity in classical music while engaging new audiences with varied repertoire that includes works by minority composers. Their mission to share their passion with a wider audience has taken them around the world; from a 2009 performance at The White House for President Obama and First Lady, Michelle Obama, to a highly successful tour of South Africa in 2012, and numerous venues in between. The musically versatile ensemble has performed with such distinguished performers as Itzhak Perlman, Ida Kavafian, Carter Brey, Fred Sherry, Misha Dicter, Jeremy Denk, and Paquito D’Rivera. Their most recent recording, Hot House, with jazz master Chick Corea and percussionist Gary Burton was a 2013 multi-Grammy Award winner.
2013 Grammy Award Winner
Hot House – featuring the Harlem Quartet in “Mozart Goes Dancing”
ABOUT HARLEM QUARTET.
The HARLEM QUARTET, praised for its “panache” by The New York Times, is “bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent,” says the Cincinnati Enquirer. The 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.
Since its public debut in 2006 at Carnegie Hall, the New York-based ensemble has performed throughout the U.S. as well as in France, the U.K., Belgium, Panama, Canada, and in South Africa, where under the auspices of the U.S. State Department they spent two weeks on tour performing concerts and participating in outreach activities. The Quartet completed the Professional String Quartet Residency Program at New England Conservatory in 2013, and participated in NEC’s string quartet exchange program in Paris, working extensively with violinist Günter Pichler.
In addition to performing on chamber music series around the world, Harlem Quartet has collaborated with such distinguished performers as Itzhak Perlman, Ida Kavafian, Carter Brey, Paul Katz, Fred Sherry, Anthony McGill, Paquito D’Rivera, and Misha Dichter (with whom the quartet made their Kennedy Center debut in February 2013). Harlem Quartet has also worked closely with jazz legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton, with whom the quartet recorded the album titled “Hot House.” Following a concert tour of twenty-five major cities, the Harlem Quartet’s recording with Corea and Burton entitled “Mozart Goes Dancing” won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition in February 2013. The winning ensemble will continue their “Hot House Tour” in Japan in June 2014.
Each member of the quartet is a seasoned solo artist, having appeared with such orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, and the Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, National, Utah, Puerto Rico, Juilliard, New World, and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras. Harlem Quartet’s solo work as an ensemble is also a significant part of their career. The most recent collaboration was with Music Director Mei-Ann Chen and the Chicago Sinfonietta, where in June 2012 they gave the world premiere of Bernstein’s West Side Story arranged for string quartet and orchestra by Randall Craig Fleischer. The quartet repeated performances 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 have recorded the West Side Story arrangement, along with works for string quartet and orchestra by Michael Abels and Benjamin Lees, now available on the Cedille Records label.
The Harlem Quartet has been featured on WNBC, CNN, the Today Show, WQXR-FM, and the News Hour with Jim Lehrer. In 2009 they performed for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House and appeared Christmas morning on NBC’s Today Show. They made their European debut in October 2009 performing at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to the U.K., and returned to Europe as guest artists and faculty members of the Musica Mundi International Festival in Belgium. Harlem Quartet is regularly featured at jazz festivals around the world, including the Panama Jazz Festival in Panama City, Montreal Jazz Festival, and Miami Nice Jazz Festival.
Their recording career began in 2007 when White Pine Music issued Take the “A” Train, a release featuring the string quartet version of that jazz standard by Billy Strayhorn; the CD was highlighted that year in the November issue of Strings magazine. A second CD, featuring works of Walter Piston, was released in 2010 by Naxos. The quartet’s third recording, released in early 2011, is a collaboration with pianist Awadagin Pratt and showcases works by American composer Judith Lang Zaimont. And two recording projects in collaboration with Chick Corea were completed at the end of the 2010-11 season. In May 2013, the quartet released a live CD from New York City’s Merkin Hall with works by Mozart and Schubert.
Genre: Classic music
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ILMAR LOPEZ-GAVILAN JUNCO
Violinist Ilmar Gavilan, a native of Havana, Cuba, has had a remarkable performing career that has taken him all over the world. This fascinating journey range from performing for world leaders such as President Obama at the White House and Queen Sofia of Spain at The Royal Palace of Madrid to performing with top stature artist of diverse styles such as Itzhak Perlman and Chick Corea.
As a soloist, Mr. Gavilan has performed concertos with the Atlanta, New Jersey, Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Hartford, Nashville, Ann Arbor, Santa Monica, Phoenix, Denver, Louisiana, Anchorage, Santa Fe, Havana, Mexico City, and Venezuela Symphonies and played recitals in England, Russia, Spain and Portugal.
An avid chamber musician, Mr. Gavilan has performed with ItzhakPerlman, Arnold Steinhardt, Ida Kavafian, Carter Brey, Paul Katz, Fred Sherry, Anthony McGill and Misha Dicter.Mr. Gavilan has participated in numerous chamber music festivals including Tanglewood, Ravinia and Angel Fire.
Jazz and Afro-Cuban music found a shining place in Mr Gavilan’s musical life. Along side his accomplished classical music career he has enjoyed the privilege of performing with Jazz legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton. This collaboration rendered him a Grammy for the recording of the “Hot House” album as member of the Harlem Quartet. Mr. Gavilan also performed and commercially released albums with Paquito D’Rivera, Eddie Palmieri and Dafnis Prieto. Other Jazz collaborations include performing with Stanley Clark, Lee Konitz, Henry Threadgill and Doc Severinsen. Mr. Gavilan has been presented in iconic Jazz venues such as The Blue Note in New York as well as International Montreal Jazz, Detroit Jazz, Panama Jazz and Saalfelden Jazz Festivals.
As a recording artist, Mr. Gavilan has numerous recordings with the Harlem quartet as a funding member. In addition to these, Mr. Gavilan’s U.S. Solo recording debut “Aires y Leyendas” and his latest solo album “Por el Mar” solely comprised of music composed by his father Guido Lopez-Gavilan including a violin concerto dedicated to him, are available on Amazon and iTunes.
Mr Gavilan is an experienced educator, having taught for several years at Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program. In addition to private students, he has also taught chamber music and given master classes worldwide, most prominently at Música Mundi in Belgium, Soweto Music Academy in South Africa, Eumak Journal Festival in South Korea, and “El Sistema” in several youth orchestras throughout out Venezuela. In the US, Mr. Gavilan has given master classes at Brevard Summer Institute, Eastman School of Music, Interlochen Arts Academy, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Berklee School of Music, and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Mr. Gavilan’s own academic journey began at the Manuel Saumell Conservatory in his native Havana. Having won all national competitions in which he participated, Ilmar Gavilán was selected for advanced studies at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow at the age of 14. Through the personal recommendation and royal scholarship of Queen Sofia of Spain, studies took him to the Reina Sofia School of Music in Spain where he studied with Zakhar Bron.
Later studies brought Mr. Gavilan to the Manhattan School of Music in New York City where he studied with Glen Dicterow. As a founding member of the Harlem Quartet, Mr. Gavilan received a Graduate Diploma in Quartet Performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston. His mentors there included Donald Weilerstein and Miriam Fried. In addition, Mr. Gavilan received private lessons from legendary Yehudi Menuhin, Isaac Stern and Ruggiero Ricci. Mr. Gavilan has achieved doctoral candidacy at Rutgers University under the mentorship of Arnold Steinhardt.
Mr. Gavilan won first prize at the Sphinx competition, as well as top honors at the Lipinsky-Wieniaswsky and the Henryk Szeryng International violin competitions.
Ilmar Gavilan, was born to a prominent musical family. His father Guido is a widely recognized composer and conductor, his mother Teresita is a respected pianist and pedagogue. Aldo, his younger brother, is a celebrated pianist and composer, particularly known for his phenomenal improvisations in Classical and Jazz styles. Ilmar Gavilan’s unique, passionate, and brilliant performances reveal the fulfillment of his heritage and early promise. Today he has a beautiful family of his own and enjoys ocean related activities.
Violinist, Melissa White, is a founding member of the esteemed Harlem Quartet. Her passion and dedication with the group has led to performances around the world on stages that range from Carnegie Hall and the White House for President Obama and First Lady Michelle, to La Maison Symphonique de Montréal to the residence of the US Ambassador to the UK. In addition to her active chamber music career, as First Prize Winner of the 4th Annual Sphinx Competition, Ms. White has been an acclaimed soloist with many of the nation’s leading orchestras including the Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, Atlanta Symphonies and the Boston Pops. In 2012, Melissa performed in the William Kapell International Piano Competition and Festival. Her collaboration with Yekwon Sunwoo won first prize in the Chamber Music round. In 2011 she made her South American solo debut with the Colombian Youth Philharmonic on a tour throughout Colombia as well as her hometown debut with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra. Melissa’s 2012-2013 season includes an international six-month tour entitled, Hot House Tour, with jazz pianist, Chick Corea and vibraphonist, Gary Burton, a debut performance with classical pianist, Misha Dicter at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and solo appearances with the Anchorage and Santa Fe Symphonies.
Melissa graduated with a Bachelors degree in performance from the Curtis Institute of Music as well as a Masters degree in performance and a Graduate Diploma in professional quartet studies from the New England Conservatory of Music. Her versatility as a violinist has allowed her to collaborate with distinguished artists such as Itzhak Perlman, Robert Spano, Roger Tapping, Misha Dicter, Chick Corea, Gary Burton, Paquito D’Rivera and Bruno Mars to name a few. In 2012 she made her improvisational debut with legendary jazz bassist, Stanley Clarke, at the world-renowned International Montreal Jazz Festival. Other recent festivals and program appearances as teacher and performer include Tanglewood Music Festival, the Brevard Summer Institute, the Hilton Head International Young Musician’s Festival–a chamber music series hosted by noted pianist Christopher O’Riley, Detroit Jazz and Panama Jazz Festivals, and Musica Mundi International Festival working alongside Maxim Vengerov and Ivry Gitlis.
In addition to being a violinist, Melissa is a restaurateur and enjoys practicing Bikram yoga as well as spending time with her family.
Known for his unique and vibrant sound, violist Jaime Amador has distinguished himself among the latest generation of musicians to emerge from Puerto Rico.
Before joining the Harlem Quartet in 2012, Mr. Amador has had a successful career as a member of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra. In 2007, he won first prize at the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra Solo Competition for his interpretation of Béla Bártok’s concerto for viola and orchestra. The newspaper El Nuevo Día praised his performance as “outstanding, having displayed sound technical mastery and a sobriety most appropriate to the nature of the piece. From the moment the viola alone is introduced, this young musician exuded confidence and aplomb, which was mirrored in the precision of his execution throughout the entire performance.”
Born in San Juan, Jaime Amador began his career at the Children String Program of the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music. He continued his studies at the Juilliard School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and the New England Conservatory under the guidance of Toby Appel, Isaac Malkin, and Kim Kashkashian. He has participated in several master classes with renowned artists, such as Pinchas Zukerman, Yuri Bashmet, Roberto Díaz, Michael Tree, Gérard Caussé, Hellen Callus, Paul Neubauer, Pamela Frank, Sylvia Rosemberg, and Hartmut Rhode, to name a few.
As a chamber musician, Mr. Amador has played in prestigious venues in the United States and Europe, such as Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall in New York, Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, and the Kurhaus in Baden-Baden. Throughout his career, he has collaborated with Chick Corea, Ida Kavafian, Fred Sherry, Emanuel Borok, Mikhail Kopelman, David Geber, Michael Lewin, Misha Dichter, Emilio Colón, Vanessa Pérez, Mykola Suk, and Eric Himy, among others.
Mr. Amador has participated in important international music festivals at the Meadowmount School of Music, where he was teaching assistant to Eugene Becker, Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena, Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Santander, Academy of Music in New Jersey, the Norfolk Music Festival in Connecticut, and the Carl Flescsh Akademie in Baden-Baden. Most recently, he participated in the 30th anniversary celebration of the highly acclaimed chamber music festival, Music from Angel Fire, as a member of the Harlem Quartet.
Mr. Amador’s interest in educating the new generation of musicians has led him to direct the String Department at the 2011 FOSJA Youth Festival in San Juan. In addition to master classes in Puerto Rico and throughout the United States, Mr. Amador has made outreach programs a priority, bringing music to those with limited opportunities and to a society in need of healing through the arts.
Jaime Amador plays a Ryan Soltis 2010 viola.
Praised for his “impressive refinement, eloquent phrasing, and singing tone” by The New York Times, American cellist Matthew Zalkind has performed throughout the United States and abroad as a recitalist, soloist, and chamber musician.
Mr. Zalkind was awarded First Prize in the 2012 Washington International Competition, as well as top prizes in the Beijing International Cello Competition, Korea’s Isang Yun Gyeongnam International Competition, and the Juilliard School Competition. He also won distinction as the top-ranked American in the 2011 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
As a soloist, Mr. Zalkind has performed concerti with such organizations as the Moscow Chamber Players, the Albany Symphony, the Hongzhou Philharmonic, the Utah Symphony, the Tongyeong International Music Festival Orchestra, and the Music Academy of the West Festival Orchestra in Santa Barbara. As soloist with the Juilliard Symphony Orchestra he performed in New York’s Avery Fisher Hall under the baton of Ludovic Morlot. Upcoming solo appearances include a recital at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and Rococo Variations with the Utah Symphony.
An active chamber musician, Mr. Zalkind has participated in numerous music festivals, including Marlboro and Ravinia. He has collaborated in chamber music with Mitsuko Uchida, Richard Goode, Menahem Pressler, Charles Neidich, Bruno Canino, Scott St. John, Jonathan Biss, and members of the Guarneri String Quartet. In addition, Mr. Zalkind has performed at the Kennedy Center and in New York’s Alice Tully Hall and Metropolitan Museum of Art. He is a current member of the internationally acclaimed Harlem String Quartet.
Mr. Zalkind has a strong interest in teaching and outreach. In addition to teaching as a graduate student instructor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, he was assistant faculty for two summers at the Meadowmount School of Music in New York. Mr. Zalkind was awarded a Gluck Community Service Fellowship at The Juilliard School for four years, performing concerts at treatment facilities throughout the five boroughs of New York City. Mr. Zalkind also served as guest professor at Utah State University from September-December, 2012.
A Salt Lake City native, Mr. Zalkind began his studies with Richard Hoyt. He has worked extensively with Pegsoon Whang, Hans Jensen, Ronald Leonard, and Alan Stepansky. Mr. Zalkind was accepted to The Juilliard School with presidential distinction in 2004 as a student of Timothy Eddy. He received his Bachelors Degree from Juilliard in 2008, and his Masters Degree 2010 as the recipient of Juilliard’s Irene Diamond Graduate Fellowship and the Rena Robbins Shapiro Memorial Scholarship in Cello. Mr. Zalkind received his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan in 2013 under the tutelage of Richard Aaron.
” …yet the Harlem players produce such a seductively velvet sound and phrase so intuitively and exultantly that any potential difficulties seem to melt away.”
They are already an accomplished ensemble, and their performances here easily outclass those of the Portland group both technically and interpretively.
Despite the weight of a weekend of remembrance, the young artists of the Harlem Quartet, the composers whose music was performed, and the students who heard it, bearing the hopes and dreams of a new generation, all embodied a spirit of optimism. This was an inspired performance.
Note well the names, because you should be hearing (and hearing of) these players into a bright future. Although they are all young, their artistry as the Harlem Quartet rivals that of the numerous veteran chamber groups that area listeners have been privileged to hear over the years.
The Chamber Music Society of Central Kentucky and its patrons certainly got their money’s worth from the Harlem Quartet, which showed its versatility and range with classical, contemporary and jazz pieces.
“…they would emerge as one single, unanimous voice, a spirited harmoniousness further crediting Gestalt theory in which the whole exceeds the sum of its parts.
“The audience loved this grand finale [Randall Fleischer’s string quartet arrangement of West Side Story] in which ‘Maria’ provided a motif throughout the work. ‘Tonight’ was truly beautiful, and I felt like I was hearing the best of the Boston Pops… Of course ‘Play it Cool Boy’ held the audience on edge with the rhythmical finger snapping, heightened by the rhythms of the orchestra.”
“Friday night [at the Montreal Jazz Festival, acoustic/electric bassist Stanley] Clarke teamed up with the Harlem Quartet, a cutting-edge modern classical group that not only proved itself capable of nailing Clarke’s complex charts but also demonstrated great capacity for content-rich improvisation. This wasn’t the kind of string section that pads and sweetens; [The Harlem Quartet] collaborated with Clarke as an artistic entity that displayed top-notch chops, sensitive ears and surprising guts.”
They took my breath away in the same way that the bullfighter or bull would at the moment of truth.
“[Corea, Burton, and the Harlem Quartet] dove headlong into ‘Round Midnight,’ the strings adding considerable tonal depth and a sweeping, cinematic atmosphere to Thelonious Monk’s classic.”
History & Mission
Harlem Quartet was founded in 2006 by the Sphinx Organization. The original four members were all first prize laureates of the Sphinx Competition. The Organization wanted to create a group comprised of first place laureates to achieve the overall mission of classical music to inner-city school children.
Our name, Harlem Quartet, was given to us by the Sphinx Organization. It comes from the neighborhood in New York City that holds such a rich piece of American history – The Harlem Renaissance. During the 1920s, Harlem became a beacon of hope where educated African Americans migrated looking for better opportunities in the North. We like to think that the work we do–bringing classical music to schools in Harlem and around the world–is in line with this cultural renaissance Harlem represents for African-Americans.
9 - GRAND TETON MUSIC FESTIVAL IN JACKSON HOLE, WY - 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm Jackson Hole, WY
14 - 18 - RESIDENCY IN WICHITA'S MUSIC AT THE BARN - 12:00 pm - 12:00 pm (18) Wichita, Kansas
19 - MAVERICK CONCERTS, WOODSTOCK, NY - 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm Woodstock, NY
21 - PRINCETON UNIVERSITY SUMMER CONCERTS IN PRINCETON, NJ - 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm Princeton, NJ
27 - PERFORMANCE WITH PIANIST MISHA DICHTER AT MUSIC MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL - 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm Lakeville, Connecticut
18 - 22 - RESIDENCY AT KAUFMAN MUSIC CENTER, NEW YORK, NY - 8:00 am - 8:00 pm (22) Merkin Hall, New York, NY
22 - MERKIN HALL PERFORMANCE - 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm