Paderewski Youth Piano Competition

The 2009 Youth Competition winners with Marek Zebrowski (L), India D’Avignon and Michael Walker (C), and Joel Peterson (R)

Since 2007 the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles has organized the annual Youth Piano Competition. It’s open to students in two age groups: Juniors (10-14) and Seniors (15-18). All contestants must currently study with an established piano teacher and reside in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara or Monterey Counties. Juried auditions are held in Paso Robles in late October and participants in each category compete for prizes ranging from $200-750. Finalists are presented in a Winners’ Recital held at the Ballroom of the historic Paso Robles Inn during the annual Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles in November. Selected Youth Competition winners may also have an opportunity to travel to Poland on the Cultural Exchange Program, held biennially since 2009.

Past finalists of the Paderewski Youth Piano Competition include (in alphabetical order):

2007: Tyrone Crockett, Max Eisendrath, *Matt Fauria, Joshua Lehrer, *Evan Lin, and Cooper Stimson
2008: Evan Lin, *Rory McClish, *Lindsay Reed, and Andrew Toh
2009: *Jordan Adams, *Madeline Anderson, Kevin Chen, Daphne Honma, Rory McClish, Hyun Jee Kim, and Gianna Zufall
2010: Jordan Adams, Madeline Anderson,*Daniel Ha, Max Eisendrath, Evan Lin, Kevin Lin, and Gianna Zufall
2011: Madeline Anderson, Daniel Ha, Sofia Talarico, Elizabeth Lee, and Kevin Park
2012: Cian Amor, *Daniel Ha, Sydney Haughian, Evan Lin, Kevin Park, *Jack Raventos, and Gianna Zufall
2013: Ivan Davidek, Daniel Ha, Sydney Haughian, Evan Lin, Kevin Park, and Bella Oldenburg

2011 Youth Competition contestants

*Designates finalists from the Paderewski Youth Competition who travelled to Poland in 2009, 2011, and 2013

The 2014 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles will present another group of Competition finalists who will be eligible to participate in the Cultural Exchange Program in Poland in 2015. To learn more about the Competition please see the Festival website at: For further information, contact Diane Sayre at or call 805 712 4215.

Application deadline for the 2014 Youth Piano Competition:

Winners of the 2013 Youth Competition,
Ballroom, Paso Robles Inn
Master Class with Karol Radziwonowicz,
Park Ballroom, November 2013


Paderewski Festival Cultural Exchange Program

Mayor Frank Mecham & Supervisor Mieczysław Kras, Paso Robles, 2008

Ignacy Jan Paderewski wanted to establish a music school in Paso Robles, California—his beloved American retreat—and the Paderewski Festival Cultural Exchange Program seeks to foster that dream. It was initiated by a Sister Cities agreement between Paso Robles and Tarnów, Poland, signed in November 2008. The Exchange Program encourages the exploration of cultural, educational and business opportunities between these two communities that share historical ties to Paderewski. It also provides free master classes with visiting artists and special coaching session for all interested young musicians.

American and Polish students after a concert at the Jagiellonian University, 2011

The Paderewski Festival Cultural Exchange Program provides annual opportunities for young musicians from California’s Central Coast and the Tarnów region to further their piano studies and perform together, as well as learn about each other’s countries and cultures. In odd years, chosen finalists of the Paderewski Youth Piano Competition in Paso Robles travel to Poland to participate in master classes alongside Polish students at Paderewski’s former estate in Kąśna Dolna near Tarnów, as well as perform together for audiences at Kąśna Dolna and Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Three tours of young Central Coast musicians have travelled to Poland in 2009, 2011 and 2013. In 2010, 2012, and 2014 young Polish musicians from Tarnów came to Paso Robles, staying with host families in California while studying with internationally renowned pianists and performing during the Paderewski Festival.

Exchange Program students from Poland and California at Paderewski’s manor house, Kąśna Dolna, 2013

In June 2013, students from Khmilnyk in the Ukraine joined the Exchange Program in Kąśna Dolna, and the Paderewski Festival plans to invite them to California, together with students from Tarnów, in fall of 2014. The Festival and the Exchange Program celebrate Paderewski’s links with places closely tied to his personal history and, over the past five years, have developed a wonderful cooperation between Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo County, and the Province of Tarnów. The recent addition of the Ukrainian region of Podolya to the Exchange Program not only recognizes Paderewski’s birthplace but also represents a promising development in fostering closer cultural links between Poland, the Ukraine and the United States.

Lars Hoefs (C) with students from California, Poland and the Ukraine sightseeing in southern Poland, 2013

The annual costs of the Exchange Program are shared between the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, the City and Province of Tarnów, and the Paderewski Centre in Kąśna Dolna. All lodging/meals/transportation in and around Kąśna Dolna are provided by our partners in Poland. However, the Paderewski Festival provides international airfare for up to three American students and their chaperone and all other lodging and meals during the sightseeing portion of the journey, as well as amenities and events for Polish students visiting California. Only through your generous financial support can this Cultural Exchange Program continue. For more information about the Youth Competition and the Exchange Program please visit the Paderewski Festival website at:




DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Friday, October 3, 2014
AUDITIONS: Saturday, October 25, 2014
WINNERS. RECITAL: Saturday, November 8, 2014

Paso Robles, CA . The Board of Directors of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles invites piano teachers in California.s Central Coast counties of San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Barbara to encourage their talented young pianists to submit applications for the Festival's 2014 Youth Piano Competition.

The competition is open to piano students in two age groups: Juniors (ages 10-14) and Seniors (ages 15-18). All competitors must currently study with an established piano teacher and reside within the counties of San Luis Obispo, Monterey or Santa Barbara. Professional pianists may not apply. The Competition Jury will be headed by pianist and composer Marek Zebrowski, Director of the Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California and Artistic Director of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, with India D'Avignon and Paul Woodring, both from the Music Department at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. Awards will be made at the discretion of the Jury, whose verdict shall be final.

All participants in the 2014 auditions will receive a certificate. Prizes ranging from $200-$750 will be awarded to the best performers, and winners will be invited to perform during the 2014 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles. Selected winners may also apply to travel to Poland in summer of 2015 under the Paderewski Festival Youth Exchange Program, administered and sponsored jointly by the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and the Province of Tarnów in Poland. This all-expenses-paid program includes piano workshops, master classes and concert performances at Kąśna Dolna, Paderewski's estate in southern Poland, and at the historic Jagiellonian University in Kraków.

Deadline for the 2014 Youth Competition applications is Friday, October 3, 2014. The entry forms can be found and downloaded from the Paderewski Festival website:

The auditions will be held on Saturday, October 25, 2014, at Cass Winery, 7350 Linne Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446. The audition schedule will be e-mailed to all applicants prior to their appearance.

The 2014 Youth Competition Winners. Recital will be held in the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom on Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 4 p.m. Admission to this event is free and open to the public.

The Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles is a non-profit organization that sponsors an annual series of concerts featuring internationally acclaimed artists, the Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition and Exchange Program, and other Paderewski-themed events. The 2014 Festival will be held November 6-9. The Festival Gala concert on Saturday, November 8 will feature a solo piano recital by Zheeyoung Moon, winner of the 2013 Paderewski International Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz, Poland. In addition, Ms. Moon will also provide a master class for all interested pianists on Friday, November 7. Other concerts, film screenings, dance performances and exhibits of Paderewski memorabilia are planned during the Festival throughout Paso Robles.

For questions or additional Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition information, please contact Diane Sayre at or call 805-712-4215.


2014 Youth Piano Competition Judge Biographies

Marek Zebrowski

Marek Zebrowski began studying piano at the age of five.  After graduating with the highest honors from the Poznan Music Lyceum, he studied with Robert Casadesus and Nadia Boulanger in France and Russell Sherman at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he received his Bachelor and Master degrees.  Hailed as "firm and eminently musical" by the Boston Globe, "strong and noble" by the Washington Post, and accorded highest accodades by the world press, Mr. Zebrowski has appeared as soloist in recital and with symphony orchestras throughout the world.  He has recorded works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Scriabin and Prokofiew for Polish Radio and works by Ravel and Prokofiew for Apollo Records in Germany, and his performances and compositions are featured on the Titanic Records and Hamonia Mundi labels.  Recognized as a composer with a catalogue of orchestral and chamber works, piano compositions and transcriptions, and film and stage scores, Mr. Zebrowski has received commissions from Meet the Composer and The New England String Quartet, among others, as well as composition prizes in the Netherlands, Poland and South Africa.  For the past several years, he has collaborated with director David Lynch and their album of free improvisations, Polish Night Music, was released in April 2008.

Marek Zebrowski has lectured for the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Harvard University, and the The New England Conservatory of Music, and for several years was contibuting writer for the Boston Book Review.  He has given master classes and coached various chamber music ensembles and chamber orchestras.  His academic career includes teaching at the University of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and University of California, Los Angeles.  Currently, Mr. Zebrowski resides in Los Angeles and serves as the Program Director for the Polish Music Center at the University of Southern California, and is Artistic Director of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles, California.

Marek Zebrowski is a Steinway Artist.  He authored Celebrating Chopin & Paderewski, Paderewski in California and several other books about film directors and cinematorgraphers, published by the Tumult Foundation.  The 2007 recipient of the Silver Gloria Artis medal from Poland's Minister of Culture and National Heritage, in 2011 Mr. Zebrowski was recognized wit the Telly Award for his score to a documentary film, The Labyrinth, and awarded the Golden Cross of Merit by the President of Poland. In April 2012, together with Lech Walesa and Professor Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, Mr. Zebrowski was honored by TV Polonia with the Award for the Promotion of Poland and Polish Culture abroad.

India D'Avignon

Professor India D'Avignon has a Master of Arts in Piano Pedagogy and Choral Conducting from Ohio State University, and a Bachelor of Music Education from Wittenberg University.  She is formerly a Professor of piano and chair of the piano and organ department at Capital University, and currently serves as Associate Professor in the Music Department at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly).  She has performed throughout the United States and abroad accompanying on the piano, harpsichord, fortepiano and harp.  Ms. D'Avignon has held the offices of MTNA Mid-West Divisional Competition Chair, international President for Phi Beta Delta (an honor society for international scholars), Chair of the Undergraduate Faculty at Capital University, Academic Senator for Cal Poly, President of the Board of the San Luis Obispo Symphony, and a board member of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles.  She is featured on the compact disk Christ Hallm, Homage a Marc Chagall as the Director of the Glass Music Ensemble, and co-produced a compact disk of The Philadelphia Sonatas by Alexander Reinagle on Titanic Records.

Paul Woodring

Paul Woodring specialized in organ performance at California State University, Northridge, studying under Sam Swartz and David Britton.  While there, he won several prestigious awards, including first prize in the Western Regional American Guild of Organists Competition.  He then studied organ and harpsichord in Vienna under Otto Bruckner and Elfriede Stadlmann.

As an accompanist, Paul Woodring has worked with some of America's finest concert choirs and opera companies, including the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the Mormor Tabernacle Choir and the Los Angeles Opera Company.  In the San Luis Obispo area, he has worked with the Pacific Repertory Opera, Mozart Festival, Central Coast Children's Choir, Cuesta Master Chorale, Tolosa Strings and several musical theater organizations.  Mr. Woodring is currently an accompanist and coach at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo.  He also serves the congregations of Mr. Carmel Lutheran Church as organist and choir director, and San Luis Obispo United Methodist church as organist.


2014 Youth Piano Competition

The deadline for applications is October 3, 2014.*
Auditions will be held on Saturday, October 25, 2014

Download the 2014 Youth Competition Application Here



Please direct all
competition inquiries to:

Diane Sayre
(805) 712-4215


Completed applications
should be submitted electronically via email to:


*Incomplete or late applications will be disqualified.