America's longest-running multicultural song and dance company, the Duquesne University Tamburitzans is a unique ensemble of talented young folk artists dedicated to the performance and preservation of the music, songs, and dances of Eastern Europe and neighboring folk cultures.
The Tamburitzans began in 1937 as a musical group of twelve young men who played the tamburitza. Intrigued by the culture surrounding this traditional East European stringed instrument (similar to a mandolin), the group's founder, Dr. A. Lester Pierce brought his "Slavonic Tamburitza Orchestra" from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he garnered support for his ensemble from the multitude of ethnic communities and fraternal societies residing in the culturally diverse city. Equipped with this affirmation of the viability of his ensemble in Pittsburgh, Dr. Pierce negotiated a work scholarship arrangement with Duquesne University, and the Tamburitzans began a spirited tradition heralded as "unique in all the world." Today, these young men and women perform the music, songs, and dances of Eastern Europe and neighboring cultures under the direction of Managing Director Paul G. Stafura.