Grand Zither Concert

Thanks in large part to the hard work of Ms. Anne Prinz, Zither players from ten states met from Thursday, March 10, 2011, through Sunday, March 13, 2011, at the German American Heritage Center in Davenport, Iowa, for a series of workshops led by internationally renowned master Zitherist Tomy Temerson of Hanau, Germany.

The workshops offered ranged from the basics for some of the newer players to orchestral techniques of phrasing and dynamics for both classical and traditional music. Mr. Temerson also made time available to meet with individuals for some one-on-one lessons. Part of the time was also devoted to preparation for the Grand Zither Concert, performed by the North American Zither Orchestra at the Galvin Fine Arts Center at St. Ambrose University in Davenport on Saturday evening, March 12, 2011. The Concert was conducted by Mr. William Taylor of Chicago, IL.

The Concert began with the orchestra playing three movements from Freddy Golden’s Sonata Classique, followed by works by Schubert, & Pugh/Jellinghaus. Members of the Orchestra then sat back and listened in awe as Mr. Temerson delighted the audience with his extraordinary renditions of several songs composed especially for the zither including The Way to the Heart (Der Weg zum Herzen), An Evening on Lake Traun (Ein Abend am Traunsee) and a piece written by one of Mr. Temerson’s Japanese colleagues, to tumultuous applause by the audience. The Orchestra then performed works by Shostakowitsj, Thalkirchhofen and Pat Ballard.

Following a standing ovation and calls for an encore, the Orchestra played Sentimental Journey and finished with The Third Man Theme, which through the 1949 movie of the same name has become a kind of “national anthem” for zither players world-wide.

There were a number of people who attended the workshops for the first time, which is always a very positive sign of vitality and is a good indication of how the zither, so close to becoming only a museum piece here in the US, seems to be gaining in popularity albeit only slightly. At the same time, there were a number of “stalwart” players who were not able to attend this year’s get-together and concert for a number of reasons, and they were definitely missed. Let’s hope they will be us next time.