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The Haven String Quartet Honors African-American Musical History

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Music’s role in popular culture undoubtedly comes from innovative black artists who revolutionized the way we even think about popular music. Seriously, it’s undeniable. Pioneers like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Louis Armstrong, B.B. King and Chuck Berry established the beginnings of rock and roll, country, R&B, hip-hop and rap as we know it.

New Haven-based nonprofit Music Haven serves to uplift the urban community through access to music education. Music Haven teamed up with the New Haven Free Public Library on Fri., Feb. 12, for a Black History Month Concert to recognize the accomplishments made in music. The celebration featured the Haven String Quartet performance, followed by a workshop providing instruments for children to sample and test out their musical chops.

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Four musicians hailing from Pakistan, Massachusetts, Ohio and South Carolina played at the family event. The performers described each instrument, its history and usage to an audience of parents and children. The quartet played Antonín Dvořák’s No. 12 in F Major, a piece inspired by its African American and Native American themes, before playing Charles L. Washington‘s original piece “Bartók Meets Monk,” a three-movement work influenced by composers Béla Bartók and Thelonious Monk.

The 10-year-old organization works with around 80 students from the greater New Haven area. The Spread Music Now organization made the Music Haven’s Library Residency Concert Series possible as they support music education to underserved children across the country.

Music Haven’s next event, “Sonorous Sonatas”, takes place Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Local musicians Andrius Zlabys will perform at the Unitarian Society of New Haven.

Visit Music Haven’s website for more information about getting involved.

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