Thomas "Tom" Roncević is a Yugoslavian and Bulgarian folk music and dance specialist from the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area. His grandparents, Simon and Grgica Roncević, lived in Freedom, Pennsylvania, where his aunt and cousins still reside. His grandfather was from the Dalmatian coast of Western Croatia. His mother, Violet, and father, Walter, passed their knowledge of the culture on to all three sons James (a specialist on the tamburitza), Walter (who plays bass with a popular European-style folk/pop orchestra), and Tom. The father and all three sons are alumni of the Duquesne University Tamburitzans.
Tom has been involved with Yugoslavian and Bulgarian folk music and dance as a student, teacher, choreographer, musical arranger, and performer for most of his life. he began his education as a member of the Junior Tamburitzans of Ambridge, Pennsylvania, where he learned the basics of Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian, Macedonian, and Bulgarian dance and the art of playing the tanburitza. At the same time he began studying the accordion styles of the Bulgars, Serbs, Macedonians, and Romanians. When he graduated from high school he received a scholarship to Duquesne University through the Tamburitzans where he became dance captain, lead accordionist, musical arranger, and choreographer. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Music Education form Duquesne.
From 1975 to 1978, Tom studied folk culture, music, and dance in Bulgaria and completed his doctorate in ethnomusicology at the University of Sofia, Bulgaria (Kliment Ohridski). While in Bulgaria, he studied folk dance and folk musical instruments under many instructors from the various schools and professional ensembles. In 1978, he performed as the leading soloist with the Aura amateur folk dance ensemble from Sofia in the Dance Festoval of Gorna Orahovica.
In the fall of 1978, Tom returned to the United States and formed two ensembles, Trakiya and Svadba, in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. Aside from working with his own groups, Tom has done award-winning choreographies for the Na Lesa Bulgarian dance troupe of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the Kitka Bulgarian-Macedonian dance ensemble of Toledo, Ohio.
On December 26, 1982, Tom married Pamela Shaw. Both were members of the Ensemble Svadba in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Tom's articles and publications include
- Bulgarians: Folk Instruments. Selected and compiled by Paul G. Stafura and Thomas Roncević, 1979.
Tom has produced several fine recordings, including
- Bulgar Dance (45rpm) 001, Ensemble Trakiya, (Ljaskovsko, Tropanka, Sitnata)
- Bulgar Dance (45rpm) 002, Ensemble Trakiya, (Kasămsko, Glavniško Četvorno, Minka)
- Bulgar Dance (45rpm) 003, Ensemble Trakiya, (Petrunino Horo, Chopraz)
- Bulgar Dance (45rpm) 004, Ensemble Trakiya, (Kotlenska Svatbarska Răčenica, Răka)
- SVADBA (LP), Svadba, (Svadbarsko Kolo, Svatbena Polka, Prsten Mi padna, Ples Sa Rupčičem, Ripna Maca, üota, Svatbeni Rejc, Žikino Kolo, Bunjevačko Veliko Kolo, Beljevina)
Dances Tom has taught include Beljevina, Bunjevačko Veliko Kolo, Čopraz, Glvaniško Četvorno, Kasămsko Horo, Kotlenska Svatbarska Răčenica, Ljaskovsko, Minka, Petrunino Horo, Ples Sa Rupčičem, Prsten Mi Padna, Ripna Maca, Răka, Sitnata, Šota, Svatbena Polka, Svatbeni Rejc, Tropanka, and Žikino Kolo.