Joe Matacic was born in Campbell, Ohio, on January 19, 1920. At the very early age of ten years, Joe started his tamburitza career with a group directed by the well known John Rosgay. At age 14, Joe became a professional musician joing the group "Javor", which included George Skrbina, Dave Zupkovich, and Steve Pavlekovich. Joe was with "Javor" from 1934 to the start of World War II, where he served with the US Army in European Operations.
Upon discharge from the Army in 1945, Joe joined Dave Zupkovich and John Schwartz to form the "Balkan Trio". In 1946, Joe took a major step to tamburitza fame when he and Dave Zupkovich formed the "Balkan Recording Orchestra" with Marty Kapugi and Ivan Krilcich. Recording on four record labels (Columbia, RCA, Balkan, and Continental) and touring much of the middle and eastern United States and Canada, the "Balkan Recording Orchestra" became the most popular tamburitza orchestra of that period. Also, for many of those years with the "Balkan Orchestra", Joe could be heard over live broadcast radio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Youngtown, Ohio.
After a very successful tenure with the "Balkan Orchestra", Joe in 1957 joined the "Biser Tamburitza Orchestra" of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. With Chuck Sabolic, Steve Cvetichan and Tony Luketich, Joe's fame reached even greater levels of exposure. Recording on the Stanchel, Balkan and Square record labels plus weekly Sunday morning radio broadcasts over WBVP Radio in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Joe's melodic prim and musical excellence could be thoroughly enjoyed. With "Biser", Joe was again on the road touring much of the eastern United States and Canada. But it was the memorable tour of southern California which played a significant role in the musical career of Joe Matacic.
In 1959, "Biser Orchestra" came to Los Angeles, California, to play to thousands of tamburitza lovers. It was then Joe Matacic decided to stay. In southern California, Joe could see the great need for tamburitza music by the reaction of our people. They heard Joe Matacic play and they wanted more. Joe, with "Biser", moved west to fulfill that need.
The suburban community of Van Nuys, California, has been home for Joe and his wife Millie and their two sons John and Robert for the past 16 years. For all of those years, Joe has been active with "Biser". Playing for picnics, weddings, clubs, and all types of social events, Joe's music and fame continue to grow. His extensive musical career has also been broadened by contact and performances with Lex Ellesin, Anthony and Louis Markulin, and the Posega Brothers. In the west, Joe has toured San Diego and San Francisco, California, and Ely and Las Vegas, Nevada. His schedule is busy and tamburitza music is his life. Joe Matacic will continue to play, and with that, bring all of us continued joy, fond remembrances, and listening pleasure.