The 2011 Youth Piano Competition Winners

The Board of Directors of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles are pleased to announce the winners of the annual Youth Piano Competition held October 22, 2011 at Cuesta College, North Campus in Paso Robles. The Competition was open to residents of California's Central Coast, including the counties of San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and Santa Barbara.

In the Junior Category, they are: First Prize – Daniel Ha (11), a resident of Nipomo; Second Prize – Kevin Park (10), a resident of Santa Maria; and Third Prize – Elizabeth Lee (10), a resident of Pacific Grove.

In the Senior Category, the First Prize was awarded to Madeline Anderson (15), a resident of Monterey. (Second and Third prizes for the Senior Category were not awarded this year.)

(Top row left to right) Daniel Ha, Kevin Park, Elizabeth Lee: (Bottom row left to right) Madeline Anderson, Sofia Talarico

This year for the first time, the Board of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and Epoch Estate Winery collaborated to create the new Paderewski Legacy Award. This Award commemorates Paderewski's links to the City of Paso Robles and is given to the most promising young pianist residing in San Luis Obispo County from either division. This year's Paderewski Legacy Award was presented by Epoch Estate to Sofia Talarico, an 11-year old resident of Atascadero.

The Winners' Concert will be held at the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 4 p.m. In addition to cash prizes ranging from $200-$750, the winners will receive medals from the Paderewski Festival during a ceremony immediately following the concert.

As with all 2011 Paderewski Festival concerts, this concert is free and open to the public. To accommodate the highest possible number of concertgoers, reservations are strongly suggested by acquiring them online, e-mailing info@paderewskifest.com or calling (805) 769-4622. Otherwise, seating will be on a first-come basis.

The Paderewski Festival annual Youth Piano Competition auditions were held at Cuesta College, North Campus in Paso Robles on Saturday, October 22, 2011. Judges included India d'Avignon (Cal Poly), Michael Walker (Cuesta College SLO), and Marek Zebrowski (Director, Polish Music Center, USC, and Artistic Director of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles). A total of 23 pianists participated: 15 in the Junior Division (ages 10-14) and 8 in the Senior Division (ages 15-18).

The 2011 Youth Piano Competition winners:

Sofia Talarico (11) lives in Atascadero and comes from a musical family. Currently, she studies piano with Torsten Juul-Borre. She loves to entertain her parents with music and enter piano competitions. Sophia also looks forward to math and science assignments at school. Cooking, writing, drawing, reading, singing and tennis represent some of her many hobbies and after school activities. Sophia is the first recipient of the Paderewski Legacy Award at the 2011 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition.

Madeline Anderson (15) is from Monterey. She studied piano with Sherry Belisle in Woodstock, Vermont and with Catrina Owen after moving to California in 2007. For the past four years she studied piano with Lyn Bronson in Carmel. Madeline participated in the California Music Educators' Association Solo and Ensemble Festival in 2008 and 2009, receiving the Command Performance and Gold Medal awards. In April 2009 she performed in the Monterey County branch of the Music Teachers' Association of California Competitive Auditions, where she received awards and cash prizes in her age category. Madeline was a prizewinner in Paderewski Youth Piano Competition in Paso Robles on several occasions, including the Honorable Mention in 2009 and the Second Prize (Junior Division) in 2010. Madeline is the First Prize Winner (Senior Division) in the 2011 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition. In June 2011 Madeline was selected for the Paso Robles-Tarnów Cultural Exchange Program organized by the Paderewski Festival in Paso and the City and Province of Tarnów in Poland. She performed in concerts at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and at Paderewski's manor house in Kąśna Dolna and, together with other students from California, Poland and the Ukraine, Madeline participated in a week of individual piano lessons and chamber music master classes. In addition to her serious commitment to piano, Madeline enjoys reading, writing, and art. Her poems and short stories were published in magazines and collaborative books and she recently received a full scholarship for Youth Arts Collective, a private art studio for 14-22 year olds in Monterey.

Daniel Ha (11) lives in Nipomo. He studied piano for almost three years and his teachers included Debbie Lagormasino and Nell Kauffman. For the past year Daniel studied with Dr. Lynne Garrett in Orcutt. A straight-A student at Branch Elementary School in Arroyo Grande, Daniel likes writing and has won first place in San Luis Obispo County Writing Celebration twice in the past two years. He also represented Branch Elementary on a four-member team that won the first place in the 2011 Lucia Mar Unified School District Gifted and Talented Education Olympics. Recipient of an Honorable Mention at the 2010 Youth Piano Competition, Daniel is the First Prize Winner (Junior Category) at the 2011 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition.

Kevin Park (10) lives in Santa Maria and began piano lessons at the age of five. For the past three years he studied with Dr. Lynne Garrett. Last year Kevin won the California Association of Professional Music Teachers Bartok Youth Piano Competition and is an honor roll student at Alice Shaw School in Orcutt. He has also studied violin for the past two years and is a member of the San Luis Obispo Youth Symphony Academy String Orchestra. Besides music, Kevin enjoys swimming, baseball, basketball, running, riding BMX bikes, and playing video games. Last year he was chosen to play on the All-Star soccer team for the city of Orcutt. He is looking forward to a career as either doctor or a lawyer. Kevin is the Second Prize Winner (Junior Category) at the 2011 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition.

Elizabeth Lee (10) lives in Pacific Grove and has taken piano lessons since she was six. For the past three years she studied with Mr. Lyn Bronson in Carmel. Besides playing piano, Elizabeth loves to sing and she recently began to take flute and guitar lessons. She plays piano for her church choir and, together with her sisters, is active in the church community. Elizabeth's hobbies include basketball and swimming. Her future plans include a possible career in education. Elizabeth is the Third Place Winner (Junior Category) at the 2011 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition.