The award-winning Harlem String Quartet introduces students to the world of jazz, Latin, and classical music informed by the rich history of the Great Migration and Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem String Quartet brings their passion to audiences worldwide, from the White House to your school, and our Celebrate! Music Specialists guide students in learning about diverse musical traditions and making connections to their own communities.
New York-based Harlem Quartet, currently quartet-in-residence at London’s Royal College of Music, has been praised for its “panache” by The New York Times and hailed in the Cincinnati Enquirer for “bringing a new attitude to classical music, one that is fresh, bracing and intelligent.” It has also won plaudits from such veteran musicians as GRAMMY-winning woodwind virtuoso Ted Nash of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, who declared in a May 2018 Playbill article, “Harlem Quartet is one of the greatest string quartets I have ever heard. They can play anything.” Since its public debut at Carnegie Hall in 2006, the ensemble has thrilled audiences and students in 47 states as well as in the U.K., France, Belgium, Brazil, Panama, Canada, Venezuela, Japan, Ethiopia, and South Africa.
Harlem Quartet has three distinctive characteristics: diverse programming that combines music from the standard string quartet canon with jazz, Latin, and contemporary works; a collaborative approach to performance that is continually broadening the ensemble’s repertoire and audience reach through artistic partnerships with other musicians from the classical and jazz worlds; and an ongoing commitment to residency activity and other forms of educational outreach.
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 composers of color. Passion for this work has made the quartet a leading ensemble in both educational and community engagement activities. In this capacity, the quartet has written several successful grants, including a Cultural Connections Artist-In-Residence grant from James Madison University and a 2016 Guarneri String Quartet grant from Chamber Music America; the latter allowed the quartet to participate in an extended performance and educational residency in Mobile, AL, which included a close partnership with the Mobile Symphony Orchestra. In the 2017-18 season Harlem Quartet undertook a week of residency activities with the Santa Fe Youth Symphony. And since 2015 it has led an annual workshop at Music Mountain in Falls Village, CT, culminating in a concert at that venue.