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This preview has been provided by the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild.
By Barbara Freedman*
The Harlem Quartet returns to Raleigh’s Fletcher Theater on the afternoon of Sunday, September 11 to kick off RCMG’s 2011-2012 Masters Series. The globally renowned string quartet made its Triangle debut performance in March 2010 with a well-received concert and series of outreach events organized by RCMG.
The group’s youth, vitality and musicianship made an obvious impression on audiences in Raleigh. In addition to their performance at the Progress Energy Center, they played at Davie Street Presbyterian Church, taught young players at the Community Music School and held a master class for high school and college music students. At a community reception in their honor they were presented a “Tree to the City” by Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker.
In its return to Raleigh, the Harlem Quartet will be joined by a new member, cellist Paul Wiancko, who succeeded Desmond Neysmith in September of last year. When the London-based Mr. Neysmith departed due to family reasons, the quartet undertook an exhaustive search. Their selection of Mr. Wiancko, who has performed with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Pinchas Zukerman and many others, was consistent with the quartet’s dedication to musical and social diversity. With a heritage that blends Japanese and Polish, Mr. Wianko has assembled a multi-layered reputation as a cellist, composer and record producer. “Paul’s addition will be tremendously beneficial in helping us build new audiences around the world,” said Ilmar Gavilan, the Harlem’s first violinist. “He has both the imagination and technical versatility needed to explore new musical territory with us.”
This year’s visit by the Harlem Quartet is part of the annual September Prelude, a regional chamber music festival now in its 8th year. Sponsors for the 2011 September Prelude are the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild, N.C. Central University and UNC Chapel Hill. The quartet will perform on the evening of September 8 at N.C. Central’s B.N. Duke Auditorium, on September 9 in Memorial Hall at UNC and on the night of Saturday, September 10, at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church in southeast Raleigh.
RCMG is proud to welcome North Carolina Central University as our newest September Prelude partner. The organization has a long history of involvement with its college and university neighbors. Meredith College and Saint Mary’s School host many of the Guild’s master classes, and Peace College’s Kenan Auditorium has been the site of RCMG concerts in years past. Music students from Triangle area schools routinely participate in our master classes. RCMG’s close relationship with N.C. State University reaches back decades. For 20 years, Stewart Theatre on State’s campus was home to Guild concerts. Later this season, RCMG returns to Stewart Theatre for a special Saturday evening concert, collaborating with NCSU’s Center Stage series in presenting the Turtle Island Quartet.
*Barbara Freedman is a member of the Board of Directors and the marketing committee of the Raleigh Chamber Music Guild.