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Ensemble co-founder reunites with Harlem Quartet for St. Vincent College concert

Dawn Law
| Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, 9:00 p.m.
The Harlem Quartet members, (from left), Felix Umansky, Melissa White, Ilmar Gavilan and Juan-Miguel Hernandez, pose for a photo in the St. Vincent Basilica, following their performance on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
The Harlem Quartet members, (from left), Felix Umansky, Melissa White, Ilmar Gavilan and Juan-Miguel Hernandez, pose for a photo in the St. Vincent Basilica, following their performance on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
(from left), George and Ginnie Leiner, of Greensburg, attend the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
(from left), George and Ginnie Leiner, of Greensburg, attend the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
(from left), Lou and Barbara Steiner, stop for a photo while attending the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
(from left), Lou and Barbara Steiner, stop for a photo while attending the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
(from left), St. Vincent student, Mary Vanden Berk, and her sister Theresa Vanden Berk, both of Latrobe, pose for a photo during the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
(from left), St. Vincent student, Mary Vanden Berk, and her sister Theresa Vanden Berk, both of Latrobe, pose for a photo during the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
(from left), Fr. Cyprian Constantine, O.S.B., St. Vincent music department chair, joins St. Vincent music student, Matthew McCarthy, during the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
(from left), Fr. Cyprian Constantine, O.S.B., St. Vincent music department chair, joins St. Vincent music student, Matthew McCarthy, during the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
(from left), Al and Carol Kave, of Greensburg, pose for a photo during the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
(from left), Al and Carol Kave, of Greensburg, pose for a photo during the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
(from left), St. Vincent Arts Administration student and student assistant for the concert series and gallery, Maria Kegg, joins Ann Holmes, concert series coordinator and administrative director of The St. Vincent Gallery, during the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
(from left), St. Vincent Arts Administration student and student assistant for the concert series and gallery, Maria Kegg, joins Ann Holmes, concert series coordinator and administrative director of The St. Vincent Gallery, during the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
The Harlem Quartet members, Juan-Miguel Hernandez, (center back), and Melissa White, (center front), meet and greet at a reception following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
The Harlem Quartet members, Juan-Miguel Hernandez, (center back), and Melissa White, (center front), meet and greet at a reception following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
(from left), Ben and Elizabeth Butina, of Unity Township, pose for a photo while attending the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
(from left), Ben and Elizabeth Butina, of Unity Township, pose for a photo while attending the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
(from left), Kathleen Emmer, of Latrobe, Doreen Blandino, of Greensburg, Bernadette Domenic, of Latrobe, and Suzanne English, of Greensburg, gather for a photo during the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.
Kim Stepinsky | for TRIB TOTAL MEDIA
(from left), Kathleen Emmer, of Latrobe, Doreen Blandino, of Greensburg, Bernadette Domenic, of Latrobe, and Suzanne English, of Greensburg, gather for a photo during the reception for The Harlem Quartet, following their performance at the St. Vincent Concert Series, held in the St. Vincent Basilica on Saturday evening, January 16, 2016.

Nearly four years had passed since violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez performed with the Harlem Quartet, which he helped found in 2006.

Hernandez, now with the Fine Arts Quartet in Milwaukee, reunited with the ensemble Jan. 16 for the St. Vincent College Concert Series, replacing Jaime Amador, who was doing a concert in Puerto Rico.

Felix Umansky played the cello, and founding members Ilmar Gavilan and Melissa White played violin.

“That's familia right there,” Hernandez said, nodding at his friends. “I think for all of us, it's been an incredible pleasure — I didn't realize how much I missed them.”

The mission of the New York-based group is to advance diversity in classical music by attracting new audiences and introducing the work of minority composers. After their debut at Carnegie Hall, the quartet performed across North America and Europe and in South Africa. The song “Mozart Goes Dancing,” recorded with Chick Corea and Gary Burton, won a Grammy Award in 2013.

They've played at the White House for President Barack Obama, and at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Saturday's selections at the St. Vincent Basilica in Unity, near Latrobe, included Billy Strayhorn's “Take the ‘A' Train,” recorded by the Harlem Quartet in 2007; “String Quartet No. 4 in C minor,” by Ludwig van Beethoven and “El Cumbanchero,” by Rafael Hernandez.

After a standing ovation, the musicians joined the audience for a reception in the parish assembly room, where they mingled with monks, students and members of the community.

White thanked St. Vincent for its warm welcome.

“We're grateful that you had us here,” she said. “We'd love to come back.”

At 7 p.m. Feb. 13, Grammy-winning organist Paul Jacobs will perform at the Basilica.

Seen at the concert: St. Vincent president Brother Norman Hipps, music department chairman Father Cyprian Constantine, concert series director Ann Holmes, Lou and Barb Steiner, George and Ginnie Leiner, Al andCarol Kave, Mary Vanden Berk with her sister, Theresa, Kathleen Emmer, Doreen Blandino, Bernadette Domenic andSuzanne English.

— Dawn Law

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