National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame and Museum

605 East 222nd Street
Euclid, OH 44123




Phone: 216-261-3263

Toll Free: 1-800-66POLKA

Fax: 216-261-4134


It is probably fair to say that the Cleveland-Style Polka movement all started with Matt Hoyer, the “grand-daddy” of button accordion players and pioneer performer of Slovenian Polkas and Waltzes in the United States.


Born in Slovenia in 1891, Matt came to the U.S. and settled in Cleveland in 1911. Applying the skills he learned in Slovenia, he continued to build, repair and tune accordions in America. But his crowning achievement was the Hoyer Trio and its legacy which to this day has directly or indirectly influenced virtually all Slovenian, Cleveland-Style Polka musicians.


Performing primarily in Northeastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, the Hoyer Trio was the first Cleveland-Style Polka band to “go commercial.” Taking our music far beyond the range of his Model T (later Model A) transportation, the Hoyer Trio began recording for the Victor Talking Machine Company and Okeh Records. Thus, Cleveland-Style Polka began traveling across the nation’s airwaves, were disseminated to music lovers everywhere, and gained legitimacy as an art form outside the strict boundaries of Slovenian ethnic heritage.


One of the Hoyer Trio’s biggest selling dics was “Dunaj Ostane Dunaj,” a polka derived from the German-Austrian march “Vienna Forever.” Cleveland-Style Polka musicians, on the other hand, simply call it Hoyer’s polka.” Among the many popular polkas and waltzes adapted from Hoyer renditions are “Jack on St. Clair,” “Patricia’s Waltz,” “Bartender’s Polka,” and a host of others.


As a musician, Matt was a sensation on both the button accordion and the 120-bass chromatic. His playing style was unique, smooth and even. His music was beautifully laced with the typical Hoyer staccato that made each tune a musical rainbow. An innovator, Matt added dimension to his music by opening up and modifying his “harmonica” (button box) to overcome the limitations and monotony of playing in one or two keys. Matt Hoyer continued to play well into the twilight of his years. In 1951 he became ill and succumbed to cancer on December 20, 1960.


The Dean of American-Slovenian Radio Announcers, Heinie Martin Antoncic, in one of his radio tributes aptly stated, “Matt Hoyer was the George Washington among Slovenian polka musicians!”


Inducted in 1988

National Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame


Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient




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