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A look at the players in the Harlem Quartet

(From left to right) Ilmar Gavilán, Melissa White, Juan Miguel Hernandez, and Paul Wiancko of the Harlem Quartet.

Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff

(From left to right) Ilmar Gavilán, Melissa White, Juan Miguel Hernandez, and Paul Wiancko of the Harlem Quartet.

The backgrounds of the different players in the ensemble.

Ilmar Gavilán

First violin

At 38, the Cuban-born violinist is the oldest. His cheerful demeanor, intense playing style, and occasional forgetfulness — of his schedule, for example — have led some to playfully compare him to an absent-minded professor. The only group member with a family, Gavilán lives with his wife and children in Palisades Park, N.J.

Melissa White

Second violin

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With her glowing smile and ability to smooth over conflicts, the former child prodigy is the quartet’s calm organizer behind the scenes. Now 28, she began playing violin at 6 after seeing Itzhak Perlman on “Sesame Street” and studied at the Curtis Institute of Music.

Juan Miguel Hernandez


Born in Canada, he started playing violin when he was 7 and viola at 12. Even while in the Harlem Quartet, Hernandez has nurtured a solo career and taken singing lessons in hopes of launching a group that performs Frank Sinatra songs. Now 27, he recently moved to California.

Paul Wiancko


The cellist, 29, lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he runs his own recording studio. Wiancko joined the Harlem Quartet in 2010 to replace original cellist Desmond Neysmith, his sight-reading skills leaving his colleagues in awe. He loved the music, but struggled to find time for his own writing.

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