- Catherine Wojtanowski
(b Turtle Creek, PA, ?1953). American tamburitza player. Jerry Grcevich studied tamburitza—a family of instruments used in Croatian string music—with his father, uncle, and grandfathers. Despite losing one finger on his right hand in a childhood accident, he eventually mastered each of the five instruments that comprise the tamburitza ensemble—the prim, brac, tamburitza cello, bugarija, and tamburitza bass. In addition to listening to recordings, he frequently watched his father’s tamburitza group rehearse and perform. By age 11 his father had recruited him to join the ensemble. At age 21 Grcevich traveled to Yugoslavia for further studies with the renowned prim player Janika Balaz. Grcevich’s solo recordings are distinctive for their use of multitracking, a process that allows him to play each instrument and create his own “ensemble.” In 1993 he founded the Jerry Grcevich Orchestra with whom he performs with other leading tamburitza musicians. In 2001 Grcevich was awarded the Pennsylvania Council on the Art’s Fellowship in the Folk and Traditional Artists, and became the youngest member of the Tamburitza Hall of Fame. The NEA awarded him a National Heritage Fellowship in ...