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Paderewski in Paso Robles
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
temporarily suspended the annual concert series. Under the
leadership of the Polish Music Center at USC, the Paderewski Festival was re-launched
in October 2006 with a solo recital by English pianist Jonathan Plowright. Held
at Cass Winery, the event brought many individuals, organizations and local
businesses together, proving that there is a continued interest in preserving Paderewski’s
legacy in Paso Robles. In the past few years, the Festival has gained new
supporters among such well-known Paso Robles institutions as the Paso Robles Inn, Carnegie Library, Main Street Association, Pioneer Museum and Park
Ballroom, among others.
Comprised of various
civic and community leaders, the new Festival Board of Directors has increased
the scope of the Festival by offering more concerts and launching a Youth Piano
Competition. The February 2007 letter of Frank Mecham, then Mayor of Paso
Robles, suggesting a sister city agreement between Tarnów, Poland—the district
encompassing Paderewski’s former estate at Kąśna Dolna—and Paso Robles was
favorably received at the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in Poland.
As a result, a delegation representing the Paderewski Festival Board of
Directors made an official visit in Poland in 2008. A visit to Kąśna Dolna and
discussions with local officials, as well as meetings at the Jagiellonian
University in Kraków, at the Ministry of Culture, and with Poland’s First Lady
led to a reciprocal visit of Polish officials in Paso Robles during the 2008
Paderewski Festival and the signing of a cultural cooperation agreement between
Paso Robles and Tarnów.
(Directed by Dina Mande, Juice Media)
In his time, Paderewski contemplated establishing a music school in Paso Robles, the Youth PianoCompetition is the Festival’s embodiment of that vision. Young Central Coast
pianists are encouraged to pursue their musical passion through auditions,
workshops, master classes, and concert performances in California and in
Poland. In 2009, 2011 and 2013, three tours of Central Coast students, selected
from the winners of the Youth Piano Competition in Paso Robles, were invited for
a week of chamber music workshops and piano master classes at the Paderewski
estate in Kąśna Dolna, led by the Paderewski Festival Music Director, Marek
Zebrowski. During the Cultural Exchange Program, the American youth worked side
by side with young pianists from Poland and Ukraine, culminating in joint
public concerts at Paderewski’s manor house and at the Jagiellonian University
in Kraków. Students from Poland have made reciprocal visits to California in
2010 and 2012 to perform at the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and to
participate in various educational programs organized for them locally. This
unique program is jointly supported by the Paderewski Festival, numerous
wineries and civic organizations on the Central Coast, as well as the
Paderewski Center in Kąśna Dolna, the Tarnów Province government and diplomatic
representatives of the Polish government in the United States.
Another exciting development
includes the cooperation of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles with the
city of Bydgoszcz, Poland, where the Paderewski International Piano Competition
is held every three years. As a result, winners of the Paderewski International
Piano Competition are featured at Festival Gala concerts in Paso Robles. There
is no doubt that performances of classical music given by the world’s most
prominent artists and concerts showcasing young talent during the Festival will
continue to enhance the cultural atmosphere of Paso Robles. In this way, Paderewski’s
legacy and love for the region endures, enriching all who will participate in
the rapidly growing list of cultural events in Paso Robles.
2013 Paderewski Festival takes place on November 7-10 in Paso Robles.
Marek Zebrowski is the Director of the Polish Music Center at the Thornton School of Music at USC.
Marek Zebrowski was born in Poznan, Poland, and began studying piano at the age of five. After graduating with the highest honors from the Poznan Music Lyceum, he went to France, where he was a pupil of Robert Casadesus and Nadia Boulanger. Mr. Zebrowski came to the United States in 1973 and continued his studies of piano with Russell Sherman at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He has recorded works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Scriabin and Prokofiev for the Polish Radio, appeared in public television broadcasts
in the United States and recorded works by Ravel and Prokofiev for Apollo Records in Germany. His performances and compositions are featured on the Titanic and Harmonia Mundi labels.
Mr. Zebrowski is also recognized worldwide as a composer. The catalogue of his compositions includes orchestral and chamber works, numerous piano compositions and transcriptions, as well as film and stage scores. He has received commissions from Meet The Composer, The New England String Quartet, and Premiere Productions and Central Europe Trust in the United Kingdom, among others. Mr. Zebrowski’s piano composition, Ex tempore, won the second prize at the 1997 International Composition Competition in The Hague, Netherlands. During the fall of 1997 Mr. Zebrowski was a recipient of the Bogliasco Fellowship in Italy, where he composed two song cycles for baritone and piano. World premieres of his latest compositions took place in The Netherlands and Italy in 1998 and in Los Angeles in 2001.
In addition to his activities as pianist and composer, Mr. Zebrowski has been a frequent lecturer for the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Harvard University and The New England Conservatory of Music, and for several years a contributing writer for the Boston Book Review. Renowned as teacher and interpreter of music, Mr. Zebrowski has given numerous master classes, coached various chamber music ensembles and chamber orchestras. His long academic career includes many years of teaching at the University of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he is currently on the faculty at UCLA.
Mr. Zebrowski is a Steinway Artist.