2021 Judges



Matthew Lebar 


Matthew Lebar is returning to the Button Accordion Championship to lead the judges panel once again.

Matthew was born in Dolnja Bistrica, in the Prekmurje region of Slovenia in 1943. He began his musical career at the age of 16 when he started taking accordion lessons. His first band experience was playing in Triglav Orkester for about four years in the early sixties and then in his own band known as the Matt Lebar Ensemble in which he still performs today. 

Throughout the years Matt's band has enjoyed many successes across North America and the Caribbean. His band has provided backup on several occasions for Myron Floren of the well known Lawrence Welk Show fame, as well as for John Candy and Eugene Levy of the SCTV television series. The band has provided backup for singing stars from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland on North American tours.

Matt was employed by the Metro Toronto Separate School Board where he taught band music for ten years. In addition, Matt taught private classes to young Slovenian Canadians for many years. 

It is not an exaggeration to say that through his tutelage and example, Matt has inspired more young musicians to enter the music business than any other Slovenian in Canada.

Klemen Rošer

Klemen Rošer is an established musician, accordionist, composer, author and mentor. He has released several music albums in his career, representing his periods of creative expression and reflection. With his virtuoso works, he brought freshness and many innovations to folk music, in which he revealed guidelines that were hidden to many other performers. 

With the band Frikeros, Klemen moved his diatonic accordion sound to jazz, blues, Latin, funk and rock'n roll music genres, thus introducing himself as one of the few accordionists who pushed the boundaries of the mentioned sounds, in the world of the diatonic accordion. Due to his sincere devotion to the diatonic accordion, to which he dedicates himself entirely, he is known today as one of the more prominent virtuosos of this instrument.

As a mentor, Klemen has achieved over 300 awards at regional, national, European and world diatonic accordion competitions. His greatest personal achievement from his competition period is, in addition to the two first prizes of the World Competition and two gold plaques of the National Competition, the title of absolute European champion in playing the diatonic accordion.

Klemen is also the author of the Rošer teaching method, in which hundreds of accordionists are taught in Slovenia and abroad.

Klemen regularly participates in diatonic accordion competitions as a member of expert juries (Slovenian National Championship, Austrian National Championship, Slovak National Championship, Alpe Adria International Competition, World Diatonic Accordion Championship).

Alex Meixner 


Alex Meixner is a nationally acclaimed musician, performer, bandleader, educator and a leading advocate of polka music. Formally trained in classical, jazz and ethnic music, Alex has cross-pollinated his versatile playing styles through pop music, funk, jazz and polka. He is an active ambassador for polka music, revitalizing interest coast to coast resulting in sold out shows, renewed cultural interest, and growing mainstream acceptance. For Alex, it’s more than playing energetic shows; it is a mission to provide a much needed positive experience that pulls communities together to celebrate history, culture and genuinely good times.

Alex’s passion for music was kindled at an early age by having the rare fortune of living in a household of professional musicians. He was cultivated intimately by his father, the 3rd generation of the family band whose leadership was passed down through generations hailing from Austria. Fully immersed in the business of music, Alex immediately gravitated toward mimicking their activities in the studio, stage and record shop. Finally, at age 3, he began formal study on the piano, and within a year he picked up the accordion resulting in his debut on stage by age 6, an experience that was to shape his life so much in future years.

Alex leads the Alex Meixner Band which performs approximately 180 times a year across the country for venues ranging from intimate events and clubs to massive festivals. The Alex Meixner Band is a regular headliner at Wurstfest (New Braunfels, TX), German Fest (Milwaukee, WI), Musikfest (Bethlehem, PA), Plattduetsche Park (Franklin Square, NY), Creative Alliance (Baltimore, MD).

As a leader in the polka music cultural renaissance, Alex performs fluidly in styles hailing from Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Italy, Spain, Poland, and America/Cleveland. His signature style pays homage to the authenticity instilled in his DNA while adding a modern twist that appeals to a broad cross-section of audiences. 

Alex has performed on over 50 albums, including 17 as a leader or soloist. His performance with his Father on Canadian Polka King, Walter Ostanek’s, “Music and Friends” won a Grammy Award. His album Polka Freak Out, a collaboration with Bubba Hernandez, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2007. He has also recorded with a vast number of diverse artists as a soloist or sideman including avant-garde accordionist/ composer- Guy Klucevsek, Grammy winners- Brave Combo, TexMex Rock icons- The Krayolas and Irish entertainer- Seamus Kennedy.

For more info on Alex Meixner, go to www.alexmeixner.com.

Photo Credits: Mikie Farias, Jim Flynn

© Martin Pusic 2015 - 2022