Skip to main content

Texas Folklife's 2023 Big Squeeze Finalists Compete in Austin on May 13



April 27, 2023

AUSTIN, Texas - The championship round of the 17th annual statewide Big Squeeze Youth Accordion Contest, featuring talented young accordion players from across Texas, returns to the Bullock Museum at 
1p.m. on Saturday, May 13. The event is free and open to the public.

Held in the museum’s Texas Spirit Theatre this year, the Big Squeeze Finals will also feature performances from Josh Baca & the Hot Tamales, fronted by Los Texmaniacs’ Grammy-nominated accordionist Josh Baca, and North Texas accordion teacher and musician Elena Fainshtein.

“Our principal focus with The Big Squeeze is working with youth musicians, their families, teachers, and supporters from across the state to support and sustain Texas accordion music traditions”, said Charlie Lockwood, Executive Director of Texas Folklife.  “These young tradition bearers are ensuring the continued flourishing of these accordion genres and styles that are central to not only Texas music history, but also to the living cultural traditions practiced in communities statewide.  We are thrilled to invite these talented and passionate youth contestants to our state’s capital to showcase the wealth and diversity of Texas accordion music. We are so proud of each and every one of them.”

This year’s finalists will compete live in the categories Polka, and two Conjunto categories: ages 16 and under and ages 17-21. The age 17-21 Conjunto category contestants will vie for the Anthony Ortiz, Jr. Grand Prize, named after the Austin-area former contest finalist and friend of Texas Folklife who passed away in 2017. 

With the largest number of contestants, the Conjunto group went through a semi-final round of judging on April 15th at the Promenade Park Amphitheater in Edinburg. The following semi-finalists were chosen to move onto the Finals:

2023 Big Squeeze Conjunto Finalists:
Conjunto Finalists: 16 and Under
Adiel Emmanuel Vazquez, Pasadena (14)
Chelsea Campos, San Benito (16)
Giovani Guerrero, Mission (15)
Roberto Martinez III, Edcouch (13)

Conjunto Finalists: 17-21
Eligio Martinez, San Benito (19)
Gilberto Treviño, Palmview (17)

The following contestants have been chosen to advance in the other categories:

John Hickl, Elmaton (22)
Levi Burroughs, New Braunfels (15)
Timur Didych, Southlake (16)

Cajun/Zydeco Honorable Mention
Kevin Hillbun, Scott, LA (24)

Each of the genre category champions will receive a cash prize, a new Hohner accordion valued at more than $1,500, performance opportunities with Texas Folklife, publicity, professional development, and other opportunities.

Texas Folklife’s Big Squeeze Finals
Saturday, May 13th (1 pm - 4 pm)
Bullock Museum Texas Spirit Theatre
1800 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701
More event info:

The Big Squeeze is presented by Texas Folklife as part of its mission to preserve and present Texas’ diverse cultural heritage. Since 2007, Texas Folklife has promoted Texas accordion music genres through the Big Squeeze program. More than 300 young, talented players from dozens of Texas communities have participated in the program, which supports these vital community-based accordion music traditions.  


The 2023 Big Squeeze is supported in part by the generosity of H-E-B, a Squeezebox Legend Sponsor, who has contributed to worthy causes throughout Texas and Mexico for 115 years. We also are grateful to the City of Houston through the Miller Theatre Advisory Board for their long-time support. This project is made possible in part by grants from the Texas Commission on the Arts, Texas Music Office, Office of the Governor, as well as contributions from Hohner Accordions, Museum of South Texas History, The Bullock Museum, The City of Edinburg, Rancho Alegre, and other regional partners.

About Texas Folklife

Texas Folklife (TXF) is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State. TXF is designated by the National Endowment for the Arts as the official folk and traditional arts organization for the state. Since 1984, TXF has honored traditions passed down within communities, explored the importance of traditional arts in contemporary society, and celebrated the state’s vibrant heritage by providing arts experiences enjoyable for all generations. For more information, visit

— END —

Notes for editors: Program Flyers and Finalists’ headshots can be found here.

Suggested social media hashtags: #BigSqueeze2023 #TexasFolklife #TexasMusic #BigSqueeze #accordion #acordeon

Media Contact:

Maya Williams-Britton, Texas Folklife Outreach and Marketing Coordinator

(512) 441-92550;

Program Contact: 

Joshua Thomson, Big Squeeze Program Director

(313) 258-0378;