Q: What IS a tamburitza?
A: Considered to be the national folk instrument of Croatia, the tamburica (tamburtiza) or tambura is a family of musical instruments found throughout the Balkans. One who plays this instrument is called a TAMBURITZAN.
Q: How are new Tamburitzans chosen for each season?
A: General auditions take place in early February for the upcoming year. Afterwards, call-backs and interviews complete the process before the final selections are made, usually by mid-April. An average of 10 new performers are chosen each season.
Q: What are the talent requirements to be a Tamburitzan?
A: All applicants must first be accepted in their chosen school of study and should have prior performing arts experience. Many of our students are talented in multiple performance disciplines.
Q: Where do Tamburtizans come from?
A: Tamburitzans performers come from cities across the U.S.; they belonged to ethnic music/dance ensembles in their hometowns, and/or were classically trained students of music/dance; some also come to Duquesne as International students, bringing their European expertise to the stage.
Q: How do the Tamburtizans travel?
A: The entire production, from staff and performers to costumes and instruments travels from coast to coast in one large touring bus. Occasionally, the Tamburitzans bus is also a “hotel,” since some performance destinations require overnight travel.
Q: At what age did the performers begin their training?
A: Some Tamburitzans were students of dance and music at an early age, sometimes as early as 3 or 4 years old? Overall, many became serious about these disciplines in their early teens, taking private lessons and belonging to junior performance groups and/or dance schools.
Q: Do all of the Tamburitzans speak English?
A: Of course! Most Tamburtizans are English-speaking Americans. Some are second or third generation ethnics, speaking their respective languages at home. Others are international students who speak English as a second language.
Q: How many shows do they perform in a season?
A: On the average, the “Tammies” give 60 performances in a season, which runs from mid-August through May. These include both public and private performances in venues from concert halls and auditoriums to ballrooms and classrooms.
Q: Do the Tamburtizans travel & perform year-round?
A: No, the Tamburitzans’ performing season begins in mid-August with shows in the upper mid-west, and ends the last week of May with a tour of U.S. western states. The group takes a well-deserved 6-week break from June through mid-July.
Q: How far does the ensemble travel?
A: Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Tamburitzans’ travel schedule is impressive. With shoes from Connecticut to California, Wisconsin to Florida, coast-to-coast and border-to-border in one performing season, the group logs nearly 40,000 miles, traveling through an average of 35 states.
Q: When is the Tamburtizans show prepared?
A: Planning the show happens months before production camp, which then begins in mid-July on the campus of W&J College in Washington, PA, 35 miles south of Pittsburgh. In a little over three weeks, the entire new show is learned, rehearsed, and costumed to take on the road.
Q: How to they learn all of those dances and music?
A: During production camp, choreographers and arrangers from around the world work with the Tamburtizans, teaching them all of the steps, notes, and words they need to know to make each segment of the show authentic and exciting.
Q: Do the Tamburitzans rehearse during the year?
A: Yes. Intensive group rehearsals usually take place early in the season on Fridays at the Tamburitzans building. Spot rehearsals are usually accomplished at show sites.
Q: Who makes all of the costumes, and how many are used in a show?
A: About half of the Tamburtizans’ costuming comes from the country of origin. The rest has been researched and carefully duplicated by our wardrobe staff. A typical show uses at least 1000 costumes to outfit all performers.
Q: Do the performers take care of their own costumes?
A: One the road, yes. Each Tamburitzan is responsible for set-up, ironing, packing, and general care of the average 8 to 10 costumes worn by each performer. During “down-time,” the wardrobe staff handles major repairs, laundering & dry cleaning.
Q: How many instruments are used in the show?
A: About 100 different musical instruments are used in the current show. All cast members play the tamburtiza; others play violin, flute, accordion, clarinet, trumpet, guitar, bass, soprano sax, alto, piccolo, flutes, and a variety of percussive folk instruments.
Q: Are all of the Tamburitzans music majors?
A: Some choose to major in music, but Tamburtizans students may major in Nursing, Pharmacy, Education to Marketing, Multimedia, Information Technology and much more.
Q: Are there many Tamburtizans on the Dean’s List?
A: Definitely. Tamburtizans overall are very conscientious and hard-working, both as performers and as students, placing on the Dean’s List in their respective schools often throughout their tenure in the ensemble.
Q: Where can I find more information about the Tamburitzans?
A: Contact us!