Who: Timothy Durkovic is the pianist in Central4 Piano Quartet, a Los Angeles chamber ensemble that also includes string players Meredith Crawford (viola), Elizabeth Headman (violin) and Paula Fehrenbach (cello). The group will perform the first concert of High Desert Chamber Music’s 2019-20 season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St., Bend. The quartet will perform Mozart’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor and Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 2 in A Major. Preceding the concert, at 6:45 p.m., is HDCM’s first-ever “Solo Social.” Founder and director Isabelle Senger created the mixer for like-minded chamber music fans after noting the number of attendees purchasing single tickets and attending concerts solo. Tickets are $42, $10 for children and students. Contact: highdesertchambermusic.com or 541-306-3988.

Q: How did the four of you get the group together? Are you all founding members?

A: We are not. The newest edition to our group is the violist; everybody else is a founding member. (In) 2010 we were invited to Guatemala — I was born and raised in Guatemala. It was a big anniversary for Chopin, his 200th birthday. They wanted us to do both Chopin piano concertos with string quintet accompaniment. We went down for a week, and I did both Chopin concertos with a group of five string players, the chamber version. And we had such a fantastic time together. I had played before with the cellist and the first violinist, but we hadn’t put a whole group together like that. We came away from that experience like, you know, we’ve enjoyed working together so much let’s put together a piano quartet, just because there’s more repertoire for that configuration. Then we can add to it, and take away, and change the setup as we see fit. That’s kind of how we came up with the name. None of them had been to Guatemala before, so I was touring them around town, took them to the Central Market. It was a really moving experience for everybody. It was like, “We should name ourselves Central Market!” And it was like, “Well, nobody’s going to know what that means.” … So then we came up with the thought of Central4. We’re the central four players, a core group of four as a quartet. … So that’s how we came together. Five years ago … we were in need of a new violist. Meredith Crawford, who is the principal violist of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, joined us, and is a fantastic addition to the group. We’ve never been happier.

Q: You also do real estate work, right?

A: I do. I was a college professor for 17 years, and about five years ago I got my real estate license. My partner and I were flipping our house, if you will, and so I got a license just to sort of facilitate our sale. We did our first project and made my annual salary as a professor, and I quit teaching cold turkey. I do real estate full time, and then perform about 20, 30 concerts a year.

Q: Is it difficult to balance all that?

A: Not really. I mean, it is just because, you know, everybody thinks that real estate, it’s like, “Oh, it’s such an easy job.” I’ve never worked harder in my life. I mean, it’s crazy. I work seven days a week on the real estate stuff. But I force myself — you know, practicing is the first thing I do every day. The music, I’ll never give up. It’s sort of what keeps me sane, and keeps my life in balance, and I’m able to cross-pollinate the worlds. If the house I’m selling happens to have a piano in it, we’ll do a mini-house concert, open house-type scenario, where I bring the classical music world into the real estate world. Then, like, for example, I’ll do videos for the property, and I’ll play the soundtrack to the videos. I’ll bring the music into the marketing, because the actual sales process of real estate is kind of the easy part. The marketing aspect is creative and artistic, and so it’s still the same side of the brain.

Q: I figure living in Southern California, you do a lot of driving. Do you listen to music when you’re driving around, or are you a podcast kind of guy?

A: I’m a podcast and books-on-tape kind of guy.

Q: Ah, OK. What are you listening to now?

A: I do a lot of real estate-related podcasts, and then I do a lot of self-help. I work with a business life coach, and so (I listen to) a lot of kind of self-help books. Right now, I’m listening to “Never Split the Difference.” It’s a negotiation tactics book. I just find, first of all, it’s hard for me to listen to music in the car because I have to really listen to it. I’ll listen to music if I’m studying for something. I have to play Beethoven Triple (Concerto) next year, which I’ve never played before, so I’ll listen to that to get familiar with a score. I’ll listen in that respect.

— David Jasper, The Bulletin

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