2016 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition Winners

The Board of Directors of the 2016 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles announced the winners of its annual Youth Piano Competition held at the Park Ballroom in downtown Paso Robles on Saturday, October 22. A total of sixteen competitors from four Central California counties (San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Fresno and Santa Barbara) competed in two divisions: Juniors (aged 10-14) and Seniors (aged 15-18). The judges for the auditions included India D’Avignon and Paul Woodring—both faculty at CalPoly San Luis Obispo—and Marek Zebrowski, Artistic Director of the Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles and Director of the Polish Music Center at University of Southern California.

Top honors—First Place, Junior Division—was given this year to Talon Smith, a 14-year old piano student from Fresno. A student of Rufus Choi, Talon who performed Chopin’s Barcarolle, Op. 60 at the Winners’ Recital.

Holly Hadsall—an 11-year old from Santa Barbara who studies with Ms. Lana Bodnar—is the Second Place Junior Division winner. A 2014 and 2015 Competiton finalist, she performed Clementi’s Sonata Op. 26 at the Winners’ Recital .

Sarah Girges—an 11-year old from Santa Maria, who studies with Dr. Lynne Garrett, shared the title of Second Place Junior Division winner.  A 2015 Competition finalist, she performed Franz Liszt’s virtuoso arrangement of Chopin’s song, Maiden’s Wish, at the Winners’ Recital .

Andy Cai Shen, a 10-year old from San Luis Obispo and a student at Bishop’s Peak Elementary School who also studies piano with Mr. Alan Boehmer. Andy is the recipient of the Paderewski Legacy Award and he performed Mozart’s Fantasy in D minor at the Winners’ Recital.

The First Place winner in the Senior Division this year is Luke Kim, a 15-year old from Carpinteria.  A student at Cate School, Luke is studying piano with Dr. Egle Januleviciute. Besides piano, Luke also studies cello, and was a finalist in the 2015 Paderewski Youth Piano Competition. Luke performed Hindemith’s Sonata No. 2 and Paderewski’s Burlesque, Op. 14 at the Winners’ Recital .

The Second Place Senior Division winner is Jack Raventos, a 16-year old from San Luis Obispo. A 2012 and 2014 Competition finalist, Jack participated in the 2013 Cultural Exchange Program in Poland, administered jointly by the Paderewski Festival and the Province of Tarnów, Poland. Jack currently studies with Dr. Lynne Garrett and he performed Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 27 no. 1 and Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 10 no. 3 at the at the Winners’ Recital.

The Youth Competition and the Cultural Exchange Program are part of the Festival’s outreach into the community for talented young individuals in Central California who want to pursue career in music. Fostered by the Festival since 2008, this mission builds upon the idea of Ignacy Jan Paderewski who wanted to establish a music school in Paso Robles. The 2016 Youth Competition Winners’ Recital was sponsored by Tablas Creek Vineyard and Derby Wine Estates with additional support from Paso Robles Rotary.

The 2016 Paderewski Festival concluded on Sunday, November 6, at 3 p.m. at Park Ballroom with a Paderewski Birthday Celebration featuring Maestro Greg Magie and Symphony of the Vines, with current and former Paderewski Festival Cultural Exchange Program students as solo guest artists.  Daniel Ha and Kannan Freyaldenhoven from the Central Coast, Sasha Dzvinkovsky and Yulia Medynska from Ukraine, and Magdalena Kuropatwa from Poland performed their own orchestral arrangements of American, Polish and Ukrainian folksongs.  The Symphony performed music by Lutosławski and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, featuring French soloist Brigitte Armenier



Master Class with Karol Radziwonowicz,
Park Ballroom, November 2013

2011 Youth Competition contestants

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):
*Designates finalists from the Paderewski Youth Competition who traveled to Poland in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015.

  • 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.
  • 2015: Anton de la Fuente, Sarah Girges, Holly Hadsall, Luke Kim and Jane Yang.
  • 2016: Luke Kim, Jack Raventos, Talon Smith, Holly Dadsall, Sarah Girges, Andy Cai Shen.