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WEDNESDAY

There can’t be a better word than “Umoja,” Swahili for “unity,” to describe the artistic goals of the African-American string quartet that has taken it for a name. The Umoja String Quartet, comprising four Baltimore and Washington conservatory-trained string players, can claim a monopoly not only on the local African-American classical ensemble front, but also in the field of education and outreach in the music programs of D.C.- and Baltimore-area public schools. Performing mostly its own arrangements of spirituals, jazz, ragtime, and contemporary and traditional classical pieces, this versatile quartet, in keeping with its name, doesn’t shirk from programming a hot blues number following a delicate Elgar variation. The quartet’s Millennium Stage performance tonight is underwritten in part by the U.S. Recording Industry’s Music Performance Trust, which promotes free educational performances for all audiences. At 6 p.m. in the Kennedy Center’s Grand Foyer. Free. (202) 467-4600. (Amy Domingues)