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Dynamic accordionist Alex Meixner mixes an array of musical styles into traditional, exuberant Central European party music, letting die-hard polka fans to enjoy the evolution and letting hipsters discover all there is to love in the innately fun genre. Solo and with his band, he has performed at major venues and festivals around the world, as well as at uncountable accordion-centric events. His virtuosic yet quirky style has made him a sought-after collaborator (he worked alongside Jack Black in the 2017 Sundance pick The Polka King), spokesperson (Hormel and Ford have used his music), and educator. His recording "Polka FreakOut" with Brave Combo's Bubba Hernandez won him a GRAMMY nomination.
After finishing his degrees, including a Masters from Pennsylvania State University in trumpet performance, Meixner went on to collaborate successfully outside the polka world, collaborating with everyone from Tex-Mex alt rockers The Krayolas to avant garde accordionist and composer Guy Klucevsek. He explored rock and polka's intersections with Brave Combo. His duo album with Brave Combo alum Bubba Hernandez, "Polka Freak Out", was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2007.
Gary has been playing accordion from the age of 8 having been taught by his father Jimmy. A regular winner of competitions through the UK, Gary has been judging accordion competitions since 1982 and has adjudicated at many festivals around the world.
His accordion travels have included performances in the USA, Canada, Italy, France, Siberia, Korea, China, Russia, India, and the UAE.
He continues to perform around the globe and is a teacher both in private and on the internet via Skype.
Cooksie Kaserzon Kramer (A.T.C.L. L.T.C.L. A.B.C.A. L.B.C.A.) is originally from South Africa. Cooksie opened and ran the largest Music Studio in Johannesburg with three Accordion Orchestras, Junior, Intermediate and Advanced. Cooksie won the South African Accordion Championship and went to New York to represent South Africa and participate in the Coupe Mondiale in 1959 (check out her You-Tube Videos). She now resides in Kirkland, WA where she teaches Piano, Accordion and Organ. She is Leader and Conductor of the Northwest Accordionaires accordion orchestra. She is also the creator and President of the Eastside Jazz Club.
Carving her name in the music scene as a premier accordionist, Jamie Maschler is among Seattle’s few female lead instrumentalist. “Jamie Maschler, knows the versatility of the accordion better than most. She has played the instrument since she was four and spent years perfecting and competing with pieces by such challenging classical composers as Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. She has since discovered her love of the collaborative, rock and pop musical scene. “Talents like her seem to be increasingly valuable.” -The Atlantic
Jamie is based in Seattle, WA where she studied accordion under three-time Latin Grammy Nominee Jovino Santos Neto at Cornish College of the Arts. Brazilian culture inspires her current projects; Seattle’s only forró band - En Canto, and accordion duo with Gabe-Hall Rodrigues - Creosote.
Jamie is a frequent guest performer and presenter of workshops on stylized Brazilian and Tango music at numerous festivals. Jamie works for accordion manufacturer Petosa Accordions, where she is able to share her passion and actively participate in the reinvention and face of the traditional Instrument.
With Jamie Maschler and Gabe Hall-Rodrigues
Jamie Maschler – see above
Gabe Hall-Rodrigues is an Arizona-native accordionist, pianist and vocalist currently residing in Seattle, WA. He began playing the piano at age 7 and quickly realized his love for music and performing. In 2010, after only studying the accordion for a year, Gabe won the American Accordionists’ Association’sVirtuoso Solo Competition. In 2011 he graduated from Arizona State University with his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy. In 2013, Gabe graduated from ASU with a Master of Music in Jazz Piano Performance under the award winning pianist, composer and professor, Mike Kocour. During his time at ASU, Gabe received the Special Talent Award and Jazz Bird scholarships. He was a frequent guest vocalist with the ASU Concert Jazz Band and Jazz Repertory Band. Gabe was also fortunate to study with world-renowned professor and tubist Sam Pilafian during his time on accordion with the traditional jazz ensemble, the ASU Dixie Devils.