'Talking Art' with Ilmar Gavilan of the Harlem Quartet

Oct 21, 2019

Credit photo submitted by Ilmar Gavilan

The widely acclaimed Harlem Quartet is in residence from October 21-25, 2019 as part of Quad City Arts’ Visiting Artist Series.  Founded in 2006 by the Sphinx Organization, their mission is to build diversity in classical music, and to engage new and young audiences through the discovery of a varied musical repertoire that includes works by minority composers. This Grammy Award winning quartet performs jazz, Latin, and contemporary music in addition to their classical work.

Listen to our conversation here with Ilmar Gavilán about the unexpected common ground between classical music and jazz, why people of color have historically been underrepresented in classical music, about how music can be nourishing to communities ravaged by economic uncertainty or instability.

Originally from Havana, Cuba, Ilmar Gavilán is a violinist and educator who was raised in an accomplished musical family.  He left Cuba at the age of 14 to study in Moscow, Spain, and ultimately the U.S. His brother, Aldo López-Gavilán is a virtuoso classical and jazz pianist but chose to remain in Cuba.  Separated by geopolitics, they are the subject of a feature length documentary Los Hermanos/The Brothers, which will be released later this year.

The Harlem Quartet will be performing free concerts on Monday, October 21 at Wesley United Methodist Church in Muscatine at 2 pm, and on Tuesday, October 22 at the Butterworth Center in Moline at both 3 pm and 7 pm.  A ticketed public concert will be held on Friday, October 25 at Trinity Anglican Church in Rock Island at 7:30 pm.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 Student/Child/Military.