The Croatian Radiotelevision Tamburitza Orchestra is a unique instrumental ensemble founded in 1941 as a professional orchestra of Zagreb Radio. Since its founding, the orchestra has presented traditional Croatian music on Croatian Radio and Television, as well as at many concerts and festivals throughout Europe and has exhibited great care for the folk tradition.
In addition, a considerable part of the ensemble’s repertoire consists of works by 19th and 20th century Croatian composers such as Pajo Kolaric, Emil Cossetto, and Bozo Potocnik among many others, who have taken the four-stringed tambura beyond its traditional role in folk music and explored the rich possibilities of its use as a contemporary instrument. The orchestra’s repertoire has expanded over the years to encompass diverse musical genres, ranging from folk to classical music to jazz.
The orchestra has released several albums and has recorded over 10,000 folk songs, dances, and composed works that are archived in the Croatian Radio and Television library. They have also played with many renowned vocal and instrumental soloists and have been under the direction of Siniša Leopold since 1985.
7 decades 1941 – 2011 : Croatian Composers in the Tamburitza Ambiance
Jerry Grcevich born in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh studied tamburitza (Croatian string music) with his father and uncle both musical directors and performers. At the age of 21 Grcevich made a pilgrimage to Yugoslavia to study with the famous tamburitza prim player Janika Balaz the first of many musical journeys to the homeland of tamburitza. In 1980 he began composing and recording his own musical pieces. Because he mastered all five of the instruments of the tamburitza ensemble – the prim brac, tamburitza, cello, bugarija and tamburitza bass – he often uses,sound-on-sound” recording techniques to construct an ensemble featuring only his own playing. As a result of his special musical skills he is able to capture the characteristic melody harmony counterpoint and rhythm of the tamburitza orchestra.
In addition to leading a live ensemble the Jerry Grcevich Orchestra he has recorded and toured with most of the well-known tamburitza musicians alive today. He is generally recognized as the premiere prim player in the world. At a performance in Slovenska-Pozega Croatia in 1994 he realized that many of the tamburitza groups were playing songs that he had composed a testament to his influence in the homeland. In 21 he was inducted into the Tamburitza Hall of Fame the youngest musician to receive that honor. s.’ ”