March 18 2013 12:00 AM

Lansing-born violinist Melissa White and her Harlem Quartet head overseas next month


Thursday, March 29 — Violinist and Lansing native Melissa White and her Harlem Quartet will travel to South Africa in April; the Harlem Quartet has been chosen as a United States Arts Envoy.
White, fellow violinist Ilmar Gavilan, violist Juan Miguel Hernandez and cellist Paul Wiancko plan to conduct workshops and perform recitals in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

The quartet was selected to participate in the Arts Envoy program by the U.S. Embassy in South Africa, which “shares the best of the U.S. arts community with the world to foster cross-cultural understanding and collaboration and to demonstrate shared values and aspirations,” according to a press statement.

The Harlem Quartet formed in 2006 in New York and has done many outreach programs in schools across the country. “When we go into schools that don’t have music programs, we are literally introducing violin, viola and cello to students,” White said in an interview last year with City Pulse’s Lawrence Cosentino.

White, a graduate of Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute of Music and former concertmaster of the Lansing Junior Symphony, returned to her hometown to perform the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra in March 2011.