Paso Robles honours the memory and commemorates the 150th anniversary of Ignacy Jan Paderewski with a piano festival dedicated to the composer's greatest works. The city of Paso Robles in the U.S. state of California is proud of its most famous resident, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, who visited this Central California city on many occasions for 25 years between 1914 and 1939. The festival opens on Wednesday, November 10 with a Festival Prelude concert at Vina Robles Winery, featuring two young pianists from Tarnów, Poland.
Paso Robles honours the memory and commemorates the 150th anniversary of Ignacy Jan Paderewski with a piano festival dedicated to the composer's greatest works
The city of Paso Robles in the U.S. state of California is proud of its most famous resident, Ignacy Jan Paderewski
, who visited this Central California city on many occasions for 25 years between 1914 and 1939. He stayed in the El Paso Hotel (now the Paso Robles Inn) and took cures in Paso Robles' hot springs. He eventually bought nearly 3000 acres of farmland in Paso Robles, Rancho San Ignacio and Rancho Santa Helena, where he planted wine grapes, almonds and a variety of fruit trees. In addition to his musical and political accomplishments, he also is remembered as a pioneer of vine cultivation and credited with bringing Zinfandel wine grapes to California.
To commemorate Paderewski's association with Paso Robles, the Paderewski Festival was launched in 1991. The festival was suspended temporarily from 2001 to 2006, when it was re-launched under the leadership of the Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California's Thornton School of Music and Paso Roblans led by Steve Cass of Cass Winery and Joel Peterson, grandson of the Paderewski Festival's founder Virginia Peterson.
A sister city agreement between Tarnów, Poland and Paso Robles, California, was signed in 2008 with the goal of establishing cultural, educational, personal and commercial exchanges between the two cities that share historical ties to Ignacy Jan Paderewski. The first such exchange program was held in June 2009, when three young pianists from California's Central Coast - finalists from the 2007 and 2008 Paderewski Youth Piano Competitions in Paso Robles - participated in a series of piano workshops and master classes alongside three Polish students. The program was held at the manor house of Paderewski's former estate, Kąśna Dolna, in the province of Tarnów. American and Polish students performed jointly in concerts in Kąśna Dolna and at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Wines from Paso Robles were featured in tastings during receptions following each of the youth concerts.
In the mid-1930s, Paderewski expressed a wish to establish free music education for talented youth in Paso Robles, a community where he once owned large ranches with vineyards and almond groves. This year's anniversary edition of the Festival will honor Paderewski's initiative to bring music to fellow Californians by making all concerts during the 2010 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles free of charge.
This year's edition takes place between November 10-14, 2010, featuring the winners of local Paderewski Piano Competition, whose names were announced in late October. The festival opens on Wednesday, November 10 with a Festival Prelude concert at Vina Robles Winery, featuring two young pianists from Tarnów, Poland: Barbara Doroszuk, age 14, and Marian Michalski, age 12. Winners of several competitions in Poland, these talented musicians are participating in this year's Student Exchange Program initiated last year between the cities of Tarnów and Paso Robles. Their program includes works by Bach, Haydn, Chopin
The Opening Concert of the 2010 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles takes place on Thursday, November 11 at 19:00 at the historic Mission San Miguel. The performers include the Paso Robles High School Band and Choir. The programme includes two of Paderewski's best-loved piano compositions, the Menuet, Op. 14 and Legende, Op. 16, arranged for the Paso Robles Band especially for this performance. Maestro Santino Galvan will lead the Band, and Choirmaster Mary Schmutz will conduct the Paso Robles High School Choir. The band and choir will join forces in a rousing finale: Paderewski's only choral work, Hey, White Eagle!, written for Polish troops fighting in Europe during World War I. The American premiere of this work in transcription for wind band and choir is dedicated to the student performers celebrating Paderewski's 150th birthday. Admission is free; donations to the 2010 Paderewski Festival welcome.
British virtuoso Jonathan Plowright will give a master class for local pianists and finalists of the Paderewski Youth Piano Competition in Paso Robles. Mr. Plowright's master class will be held on Friday, November 12, from 2-4 p.m. at California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo. Admission is free and the event is open to the public.
Cass Winery in Paso Robles hosts a Polish Jazz Concer on November 12, featuring Poland's most famous composer of concert, film, and jazz music, Krzesimir Dębski. Maestro Dębski, who also is a virtuoso violinist and pianist, will be joined on stage by his wife, Anna Jurksztowicz, a renowned jazz and pop vocalist. The event is also accompanied by audio-visual lectures on the composer's life. On November 13, competition winners perform a concert at the historic Paso Robles Inn Ballroom. Later that evening, acclaimed piano virtuoso Jonathan Plowright performs works by Paderewski, Busoni, and Chopin. As in the past few years, the Festival Gala Concert caps the annual Paso Robles Elegant Evening.
The festival closes on November 14 with the matinee Festival Finale, a recital presented by students from the Tarnów - Paso Robles Exchange Program on Sunday, November 14 at 11 a.m. at Pear Valley Winery. Brunch (cost $20) follows the concert.
The 2010 Youth Piano Competition winners will perform at the Winners' Concert held at the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom at 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 13. Like all 2010 Paderewski Festival concerts, this concert is also free and open to the public. In addition to cash prizes ranging from $50-$750, the winners will receive medals from the Paderewski Festival during a ceremony immediately following the concert.
In addition to the Winners' Concert, several runners up in this year's Youth Competition will be featured in a special performance during the Paderewski Festival on Saturday, November 13, from 1-2 p.m. at the Studios on the Park in Paso Robles. These pianists include: Brian Bekker (18) of Pacific Grove, Sydney Haughian (10) of San Luis Obispo, Lauren Hayashi (14) of Arroyo Grande, Rory McClish (14) of Morro Bay and Lindsay Reed (15) of Paso Robles.