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November 22, 2004
Jerry Grcevich to Perform on Dec. 8
Jerry Grcevich and his Tamburitza Orchestra from Pittsburgh will fill the halls of the Library of Congress with the sounds of Eastern Europe when they perform a noontime concert under the auspices of the Library's American Folklife Center. The Dec. 8 concert, the last in this year's series, "Homegrown 2004: The Music of America", will be held in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.
Grcevich was born into a musical Croatian family in Turtle Creek, a small town near Pittsburgh. He first studied music with his father and uncle, tamburitza music directors and performers Joseph and Marko Grcevich. At age 10, he began performing with his father's orchestra. When he was 21, he traveled to Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, to study with tamburitza prim player and orchestra leader Janika Balaz and with tamburitza singer and composer Zvonko Bogdan. He learned Western European music theory and harmony at Seton Hill University.
Today Grcevich is one of the foremost tamburitza musicians in the United States, performing with tamburitza groups throughout the country. He formed his own ensemble, the Jerry Grcevich Orchestra, in 1993 in Pittsburgh. The group plays for Croatian weddings and parties, funerals, Balkan folk dance festivals and Croatian ethnic festivals and club dances.
A man of many talents, Grcevich is a composer as well as a performer, staying current with the latest styles of music in Croatia and the former Yugoslavia. While remaining true to his traditional musical roots, he composes new melodies that are appreciated by today's generation.
In 2001 Grcevich was awarded the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts' Fellowship in the Folk and Traditional Arts, the highest honor a folk artist can receive from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Appearing with Grcevich will be Vjekoslav Dimter, Robert Sestili, Krunoslav Spisic and Steve Wagner.
Tamburitza music is played on ensembles of stringed instruments, folk relatives of the classical violin. For more than 100 years, this musical tradition has flourished in the industrial communities of southwestern Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and northern Illinois.
The Homegrown concert series presents the very best of traditional music and dance from a variety of folk cultures thriving in the United States. The series is co-sponsored by the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and the Folklore Society of Greater Washington. Homegrown concerts are held once a month from April through December. The concerts are free of charge and are presented from noon to 1 p.m.
The American Folklife Center was created by Congress in 1976 and placed at the Library of Congress to "preserve and present American folklife" through programs of research, documentation, archival preservation, reference service, live performance, exhibition, public programs and training. The center includes the Archive of Folk Culture, which was established in the Library in 1928 and is now one of the largest collections of ethnographic material from the United States and around the world. For more information, visit the center's Web site at www.loc.gov/folklife/.
Part of the Kennedy Center's Performing Arts for Everyone initiative, the Millennium Stage helps fulfill the center's mission to make performing arts widely accessible. The Millennium Stage introduces the performing arts to the local community and to millions of people who visit the center each year. These free, 6 p.m. performances are offered 365 days a year. For a schedule and information on how to access the broadcasts, visit the Kennedy Center Web site at http://kennedy-center.org.
The Folklore Society of Greater Washington was founded in 1964 to further the understanding, investigation, appreciation and performance of the traditional folk music and folklore of the American people. The FSGW presents more than 200 folk events in the Washington area each year.
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