2015 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition Announced



DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: Friday, October 2, 2015
AUDITIONS: Saturday, October 24, 2015
WINNERS. RECITAL: Saturday, November 7, 2015


Paso Robles, CA . The Board of Directors of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles invite piano teachers in California's Central Coast counties of San Luis Obispo, Monterey and Santa Barbara, plus Fresno County, to encourage their talented young pianists to submit applications for the Festival's 2015 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, Santa Barbara or Fresno. 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 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 2015 auditions will receive a certificate. Prizes ranging from $150-$750 will be awarded to the best performers, and winners will be invited to perform during the 2015 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles.

Selected winners may also apply to travel to Poland in summer of 2017 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.

The 2015 Youth Competition Winners' Recital will be held in the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 4 p.m. Admission to this event will be free and open to the public.

The Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles is a non-profit 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 2015 Festival will be held November 5-8. 

For questions or additional Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition information, please contact Diane Sayre at youth@paderewskifest.com or call 805-237-7795.


2014 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition Winners 

Paso Robles, CA – Winners of the 2014 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles were drawn from twenty young pianists from three Central Coast Counties (Santa Barbara, Monterey and San Luis Obispo) competed for cash prizes of $100-$750, the opportunity to perform at the Youth Piano Competition Winners’ Recital on November 8 during the 2014 Paderewski Festival, and the chance to participate in the Festival’s 2015 Cultural Exchange Program in Poland.  Presided by Marek Żebrowski, Paderewski Festival Artistic Director and Director of the Polish Music Center at University of Southern California, the competition jury included India d’Avignon, a Cal Poly Professor and Paderewski Festival Board member, and Paul Woodring, accompanist and coach at Cal Poly.  The Competition was sponsored by the Hind Foundation of San Luis Obispo.

After hearing this year’s applicants, the jury decided to award the following prizes:

Daniel Ha

First Place, Senior Division:

Arroyo Grande High School Freshman Daniel Ha (15).  A finalist of several Paderewski Youth Piano Competitions  who also travelled to Poland on the Festival’s 2013 Cultural Exchange, Daniel has studied piano for five years with Debbie Lagomarsino, Neill Kauffman and Dr. Lynne Garrett.  He performed George Frederic Handel’s Chaconne with 21 Variations, HMV 435 and Camille Saint-Saens’ Allego appassionato, Op. 70 at the winners’ recital.

Second Place, Senior Division:

San Luis Obispo High School Freshman Kannan Freyaldenhoven (15).  A student of Dr. Lynne Garrett for the past two years, Kannan performed Franz Joseph Haydn’s Sonata in G minor, Hob. WVI:44 I. Moderato and Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s Menuet, Op. 14 no. 1.

Third Place, Senior Division:

Carmel High School Junior Yuan Tao (15).  A student of Lyn Bronson, Yuan played Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s Chant du Voyageur, Op. 8 no. 5 and Auguste Durand’s Valse, Op. 83 no. 1.

L-R: Marek Zebrowski, Jack Raventos, Jane Yang, Holly Hadsall, Daniel Ha, Kevin Park, Yuan Tao, India d'Avignon and Paul Woodring

First Place, Junior Division:

Orcutt Junior High eighth grader Kevin Park (13), who has studied piano for eight years, most recently with Dr. Lynne Garrett, John Perry and Mina Hirobe-Perry. Kevin performed the Nocturne, Op. 27 no.2 by Frederic Chopin.

Second Place, Junior Division:

Santa Barbara fourth grader Holly Hadsall (9).  A student of Lana Bodnar, Holly played Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Rondo in D major, KV 485.

Third Place, Junior Division:

Mission College Preparatory High School Freshman Jack Raventos (14) of San Luis Obispo. A multiple finalist in the Festival’s Youth Competition and participant in the 2013 Cultural Exchange Program, who studies with Dr. Lynne Garrett, Jack performed Polonaise in G-flat major, Op. posthumous (1829) by Frederic Chopin.

The Youth Piano Competition jury also awarded one Honorable Mention prize to Pacific Grove High School Freshman Jane Yang (14) who studies with Lyn Bronson.  She played Franz Liszt’s Liebestraum No. 3, S. 541 at the winners’ recital.

The Winners’ Recital was held at the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom, 1103 Spring Street, November 8 at 4 p.m.  Cash prizes and medals from the Paderewski Festival were awarded during a ceremony immediately following the concert.

The 2014 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition Winners’ Recital was free and open to the public.  To accommodate the highest possible number of concertgoers, reservations were strongly recommended and made by going to the Festival’s website – www.paderewskifest.com.  Otherwise, seating was on a first-come basis.

The Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles is a non-profit that celebrates the legacy of Paso Robles’ most famous resident Ignacy Jan Paderewski with four days of concerts and special events featuring internationally renown artists , young pianists, master classes, film dance and wine tasting. 

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 & PaderewskiPaderewski 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.


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

2014: Kannan Freyaldenhoven, Daniel Ha, Holly Hadsall, Kevin Park, Jack Raventos, Yuan Tao and Jane Yang.

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 presented 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: www.paderewskifest.com. For further information, contact Diane Sayre at youth@paderewskifest.com or call (805) 237-7795.


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 invited 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: www.paderewskifest.com


2015 Youth Piano Competition

The deadline for applications is October 2, 2015.*
Auditions will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2015

Download the 2014 Youth Competition Application Here



Please direct all
competition inquiries to:

Diane Sayre
(805) 237-7795