Join the Harlem Quartet on Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m for a diverse evening of classical music that features contemporary works created by several Latin composers alongside a Beethoven piece composed for string quartets.

The performance will be held in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Moss Arts Center’s Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.

Bringing a fresh and energetic approach to classical music, the Harlem Quartet is a young ensemble founded in 2006 by the Sphinx Organization, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to building diversity in classical music and providing access to music education in underserved communities. The group engages young and new audiences through the discovery and presentation of varied repertoire.

The performance includes “Almendra” by composer Abelardo Valdés, who is known for his contributions to the Cuban danzón style. This is his most famous danzón work, which has been arranged for string quartet by Nicky Aponte and the Harlem Quartet. In this piece, the ensemble will explore the rhythmic drive and Cuban-inspired improvisatory techniques that have defined the musical style for over a century.

The evening features Rafael Hernandez’s “El Cumbanchero,” which is translated to “party-goer” in English. A composer of Puerto Rican popular music, Hernandez composed the piece just following World War II.

The Harlem Quartet will also perform Peruvian composer Celso Garrido-Lecca’s String Quartet, no. 2, and Beethoven’s String Quartet in C Major, op. 59, no. 3, one of 16 string quartets the composer created throughout his life.

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Since their debut in 2006 at Carnegie Hall, the Harlem Quartet has performed throughout the U.S. and in France, the U.K., Belgium, Panama, Canada, and South Africa.

The ensemble has collaborated with violinist Itzhak Perlman, cellist Carter Brey, and clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera, as well as with jazz legends Chick Corea and Gary Burton. In 2009 they performed for President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the White House and appeared Christmas morning on NBC’s “Today Show.”

Members of the Harlem Quartet are Ilmar Gavilán, violin; Melissa White, violin; Jaime Amador, viola; and Felix Umansky, cello. Each member 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, New World, and Pittsburgh symphony orchestras.

This performance by the Harlem Quartet is supported in part by a gift from the Intimate Voices giving circle.

During the performance, a group of Virginia Tech students will participate in a Tweet Seats Masterclass, a Twitter-based educational dialogue led by Amber Smith, director of honors teaching and learning in Virginia Tech’s Honors College, and Alan Weinstein, associate professor of cello and bass in the university’s School of Performing Arts.

The Moss Arts Center will also offer a free matinee performance for students in grades two through seven from schools in Floyd County, Montgomery County, Radford, Pulaski County, Giles County, Roanoke, and Bland County. The event is tailored to the Virginia Standards of Learning.

Since the Moss Arts Center’s opening in 2013, nearly 12,000 elementary, middle, and high school students have participated in the center’s free performing and visual arts activities. Discover more ways to engage with the center online.


Tickets for the performance are $25-55 for the general public and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or email during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to an event.

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