string quartet | Worldwide
Acclaim

Guaguancó is one of the last styles anyone would associate with string quartets, and Ilmar Gavilán acknowledged it created challenges for them to learn to play. This gorgeous composition, in addition to providing each member of the quartet moments to shine, also required skills rarely seen from string players. 

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Walter Bilderback, DC Metro Theater Arts

Like that earlier concert, they warmed up with Beethoven, and it was young Beethoven with sprightly figures and warmth, and splashes of minor and even a Gypsy violin duel. That younger Beethoven was exquisitely “fresh,” and these four players gave it the bright-eyed clarity that it deserved.

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Adam Broner, Repeat Performances

The quartet began rehearsing at a space in Harlem, and visiting many of the neighborhood schools — thus the name. During this time, they began to develop their jazz repertoire.

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Lily O'Brien, San Francisco Classical Voice

"No concert we have ever had did more to further our mission of being high caliber, visible, accessible, and inclusive"

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Mary Beth Alger, Ashmont Hill Chamber Music

A rare glimpse of Cuban pan-musicality is on view this weekend as the López-Gavilán brothers — pianist Aldo and violinist Ilmar, with the Harlem Quartet — make their West Coast debut in a program of jazz, classical and Afro-Cuban music for piano and string quartet.

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Paul de Barros, The Seattle Times

"On their own, the quartet or the pianist would be headline attractions. Put them together and the result, as seen and heard on a busy recent Sunday afternoon, proved to be one of the highlights of the year."

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John W. Lambert, CVNC -- An online arts journal in North Carolina

The string quartet accompaniment (potently rendered by the Harlem Quartet) effectively mirrors the dialogue, flowing from quietly ominous gestures to vigorous throttle.

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Vivian Schweitzer, New York Times
The Harlem Quartet, dedicatees of [Michael Abels’s Delights & Dances], play all of this music very beautifully indeed. . . . The Chicago Sinfonietta under Mei-Ann Chen is a virtuoso group that accompanies with impressive technique, and the sonics are typically excellent. This is a very, very fine disc.” Read More...
David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
This quartet of contemporary works from Chicago's Cedille label is distinguished by the presence of the unusual combination of string quartet and orchestra in three of them. The combination is handled differently in each of the three works, making for a kaleidoscopic variety of textures despite the common medium. Read More...
James Manheim, AllMusic.com

This pairing of three works for string quartet and orchestra—including the world recording premiere of both Michael Abels’ Delights & Dances and Randall Craig Fleischer’s richly crafted arrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s popular West Side Story—is one of the most beautiful, most lively discs of modern music to come down the pike this year... The Harlem Quartet is exemplary, delivering staccato stabs and lush legato.

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Greg Cahill, Strings
This [Benjamin Lees: Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra] is an exhilarating and significant American concerto, and the Harlem Quartet and Chicago Sinfonietta play it for all it’s worth. Read More...
Robert Moon, audaud.com
The Harlem Quartet and the Chicago Sinfonietta (under conductor Mei-Ann Chen) pull off an energetic, well-blended performance. Read More...
Ronni Reich, nj.com
There's abundant vigour on this engaging collection of contemporary North American concerti grossi by the Harlem Quartet with the Chicago Sinfonietta. Read More...
Andy Gill, The Independent
In these two works [For Haydn’s “Fifths” Quartet in D Minor, Op. 76, No. 2 and for Beethoven’s Quartet No. 6 in B-flat Major, Op. 18], the quartet exhibited tight phrasing and well-controlled, starkly contrasting dynamics. Animated physicality abounded throughout, and the players really “dug in” during sections dominated by fiercely driving dance rhythms (the third movements of both works, for example). Read More...
Kristin Shafel Omiccioli, KCMetropolis.org, Kansas City's Online Journal of the Arts
... Dichter and the Harlem players adopted a down-to-earth, whole-grain approach, sacrificing delicacy for strength and resonance — a bravura performance that won them a standing ovation. Read More...
Stephen Brookes, The Washington Post
Most remarkable was the sense of balance among the players. Contrary to other ensembles, the Harlem Quartet was not dominated by the first violin. As a result, one could hear more clearly the intricate contrapuntal lines throughout the four movements. Read More...
Marcio Bezerra, Palm Beach Daily News

“The Harlem musicians, by the sound of it, keep together by listening to each other intently and through concerted muscular coordination they have developed by playing jazz and other improvisatory varieties of music together. The result is a flexible, immediate interaction which worked wonders for this early quartet of Beethoven. Their sunny warmth permeated the space between the notes throughout the work, bringing life to the quick movements and human breath to the slow movement.”

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Michael Miller, Berkshire Review
La Oración del Torero" is a work infused with Latin rhythm and harmony, much like that of Turina's more famous contemporaries Manuel de Falla and Enrique Granados. The blending and balance between the four players was exquisite, making it plainly clear they were very attuned to each other. Read More...
Kirby Hawkins, CVNC
“[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.” Read More...
Greg Haymes, Nippertown.com
They took my breath away in the same way that the bullfighter or bull would at the moment of truth. Read More...
James C.S. Liu, The Boston Musical Intelligencer

“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.”

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Ed Enright, DownBeat Magazine
“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.” Read More...
Sandra Schwartz, Splash Magazine
"...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.: Read More...
David Patterson, The Boston Music Intelligencer

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.

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Tedrin Blair Lindsay Contributing Culture Critic, www.lexgo.com
"Classical music can be cool."

That is the mission of the Harlem String Quartet, according to violist Juan Miguel Hernandez.

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MIKE DONAHEY, Times-Republican
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. Read More...
Paul D. Williams, CVNC
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. Read More...
Karen E. Moorman, CVNC
They are already an accomplished ensemble, and their performances here easily outclass those of the Portland group both technically and interpretively. Read More...
James A. Altena, Fanfare Magazine
" ...yet the Harlem players produce such a seductively velvet sound and phrase so intuitively and exultantly that any potential difficulties seem to melt away." Read More...
Julian Haylock, The Strad Magazine

A passionate, young, multi-ethnic quartet - especially one that looks like it's having fun - makes a good case for the classics, especially in urban schools.

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Lawrence Cosentino, City Pulse
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