Fred Ziwich was born in Cleveland, Ohio on March 10, 1954. He began taking accordion lessons at the age of 5, and could read music before he could read English. Fred started taking clarinet lessons in the 4th grade, began playing the tenor sax in the 8th grade, and learned to play the button box by his senior year in high school. Upon his graduation from Indiana University in 1977, he formed Fred Ziwich and his International Sound Machine (ISM). This was the fruition of his idea to assemble one group of musicians who could generate several bands capable of playing all polka genres. As time went on, Fred became very well known as an exceptionally versatile musician who could perform with groups of any style. In addition to his role as bandleader and arranger, he performed as a studio musician on over 1,200 recorded selections. In 2010, the members of the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame recognized Fred with a Lifetime Achievement Award. And, 2017 commemorates the 40th Anniversary of his formation of ISM.
For his many accomplishments in the polka industry, Fred Ziwich has been deemed deserving by the electorate of the International Polka Association for induction into the Polka Music Hall of Fame.