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Harlem Quartet takes KCC stage Wednesday

The Kauai Concert Association is gearing up to welcome the Grammy Award-winning Harlem Quartet to the Garden Isle. 

“We’re excited to have them,” said Jason Blake, KCA’s president. And the group is equally as enthusiastic about coming, according to founding member and violinist Melissa White. 

“This will be the Hawaiian debut for Harlem Quartet,” she wrote in a text message while boarding a plane in Michigan on Tuesday.

White said Wednesday’s performance will be a combination of standard classical and jazz repertoire. 

“The audience can expect an exciting show that’s personal and spontaneous,” she wrote. 

Formed in 2006, 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. 

“They have never played Kauai and they worked with us for KCA to be able to afford it, for which we are grateful,” Blake said. 

The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center in Puhi and is the first of five shows around the islands.

The band will also be conducting educational outreach earlier in the day with a presentation and performance at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School.

Jim Bray, KCA’s vice president, described the quartet as “top-notch” and said Wednesday’s program will include everything from classical composers Franz Joseph Haydn and Alexander Borodin to Wynton Marsalis, Billy Strayhorn and Chick Corea. 

The Harlem Quartet, according to its website, “advances diversity in classical music while engaging new audiences with varied repertoire that includes works by minority composers.”

The versatile ensemble has performed with such distinguished performers as Itzhak Perlman, Ida Kavafian, and Paquito D’Rivera. And their most recent recording, “Hot House,” with jazz master Corea and percussionist Gary Burton, was a 2013 multi-Grammy Award winner.

Members of the Harlem Quartet are White; violinist Ilmar Gavilan, a native of Havana, Cuba; violist Jaime Amador, a native of Puerto Rico; and American cellist Matthew Zalkind.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for students.

Info: kauai-concert.org.

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