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Hall of Fame 2013 Inductees

These are only a few of the highlights of our four worthy Hall of Fame inductees. You will have an opportunity to read their entire biography in the Phoenix Extravaganza program book. My special thanks to the nominators of this year’s inductees who took the time to present them for induction.  I would also like to thank the respected tamburasi who make up the Hall of Fame screening committee for their commitment and dedication to reviewing all of the material. 

I hope to see you all at the Hall of Fame dinner in Phoenix for the 2013 Tamburitza Extravaganza.  

 Thomas M. Malesh
 Chairman, Hall of Fame Screening Committee

Rudy Grasha   Pete Plechas   Walter Pravica   Ron Zivic

Rudy Grasha


Pete Plechas


Walter Pravica


Ron Zivic

Rudy Grasha, Jr. started to play tambura with his father’s group the 4 G's Tamburitza Orchestra when he was only 12 years old. He continued to play all the way through college, graduating from the esteemed Duquesne University. While at Duquesne, Rudy was also asked to write and arrange music for the group.  Rudy's talent has also been witnessed by many tambura lovers as faraway as South America and the USSR. In addition to his many other achievements, Rudy has been the director of the Santa Clara Junior Tamburitza Orchestra, musical arranger for the Pittsburgh Music Festival, and is currently the Director of the Hoosier Hrvati. Five years ago, he was the recipient of the TAA 50-year pin.  During the past 55 years, he has played with great tambura groups like the Krilich Brothers and Braca.   He has also played for eight years with an American dance band Night Magic. Rudy has not only performed, but also produced the well-known CD “Srcem I  Duom.”     

Pete Plecas started playing with his first band, “Nasi Tamburasi” in Omaha, Nebraska, when he was just 14-years old.  After 42 years and counting, Pete has played with some of the best like Marty Kapuji, Dunav, Stari Grad and the South Chicago Tamburitza Ensemble with Adam Popvich.  Pete currently plays with Jedinstvo from Phoenix, Arizona.  Not only is he a great musician, but he is also a great composer, teacher and tambura craftsman.  As one of the most accomplished and innovative Cello players in the country, he has performed on many recordings with various groups.  Pete was also honored to be asked to play at the Smithsonian Institute's “Festival of American Folklife.”  Many folks don’t know, but Pete played the Gitarron for 3 years with the Mariachi Orchestra San Juan to expand his musical diversity.

Wally Pravica began to play the Bugaria and Brac when he was just ten years old in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. However, after learning to playing the violin, he never looked back, and has become a master violinist. A short time after Wally learned to play the violin, the Pravicia Brothers Orchestra was formed. Wally went on to compose and teach numerous students in the years that followed. Wally has played with many great tamburasi over the years including Tillie Klaich, Matt Gouze, Medich Brother, Horace Mammula and Marty Kapuji, just to name a few. Even today at 79 years young, Wally still plays with the Northwestern Symphony, and continues to play with the Dunav and Braca Orchestras. Wally has performed on many recordings including the acclaimed Night at the Rafters and for the movie Four Friends. Wally is an esteemed professor, a 50-year TAA pin recipient, and has resided in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the past 54 years.

Ron (Kruno) Zivic started playing in 1966 with the Pittsburgh junior Tamburitzans and has continued to play for the last 47 years. Though he began as a prim player, it was soon apparent that he had a natural talent for the bass.  After a few short years, he and a few others formed the band Trubaduri, and played throughout the USA and Canada.  Kruno has performed on six recordings with Trubaduri, and has had the opportunity to perform on three European tours.  He has made numerous radio and television appearances including the nationally televised NBC special “Christmas Around the World” and the PBS series “Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.”  He has been involved with over 10 various tambura organizations/bands and performed on twelve recordings. Not only is hea great tamburas, but Kruno is also an excellent sound engineer for many groups including the Tamburitza Association of America. He continues today as the director of the Zumbercani Adult Tamburitza Orchestra.