Harlem Quartet to join Carmel Symphony Orchestra for concert

From left, Felix Umansky, cello; Melissa White, violin; Ilmar Gavilan, violin; and Jaime Amador, viola, form the Harlem Quartet, which joins the Carmel Symphony Orchestra for a Feb. 11 concert. (Photo courtesy of the Carmel Symphony Orchestra)

For Felix Umansky, it will be nice to perform in his hometown of Carmel.

“I’m definitely looking forward to seeing many familiar faces, friends and family,” he said. “I’ll be seeing friends that go back to high school or even middle school.”

The 2004 Carmel High School graduate is a cello player for the Harlem Quartet, which will join the Carmel Symphony Orchestra for a Masterworks concert at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. The performance will be Umansky’s first at the Palladium.

The Harlem Quartet will join CSO for Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story.”

“It’s such a fun piece of music,” Umansky said. “This piece itself is fantastic. This arrangement by the late, great Randy Fleischer, he really made an amazing arrangement for a string quartet and orchestra. Unlike some concertos, the orchestra plays a really big role. So, it’s not just having the spotlight shine on the string quartet soloists, but it’s a collaborative masterpiece I think with the orchestra and string quartet soloists together.”

Umansky said the Harlem Quartet has performed the piece several times, but not for a few years.

CSO Artistic Director Janna Hymes is pleased to finally have the Harlem Quartet perform the concert.

“They were scheduled over the past few years with the Carmel Symphony and the pandemic got in the way, but finally they will be here,” Hymes said.

The concert has a definite Valentine’s Day theme.

“Since this performance is scheduled just before the most romantic day of the year, we’re presenting a program filled with some of the world’s most romantic music,” Hymes said. “Each piece has a ‘love’ connection, and I will introduce many of them. Even music from the hit show ‘Bridgerton’ will be on the program.”

Hymes studied under Bernstein while learning the fine art of conducting an orchestra.

“It brings back wonderful memories of the maestro for me,” she said.

For more, visit carmelsymphony.org.