The most famous man ever to live in Paso Robles was Polish composer and pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski. He rose to fame as a classical musician but went on to distinguish himself as a renowned winemaker, freedom fighter, statesman and, ultimately, the first prime minister of a newly independent Poland.
Today, his legacy includes the annual Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles – a series of musical performances throughout North San Luis Obispo County – and a sister city relationship between Paso Robles and Tarnów, Poland, that is realized through a nonprofit program that promotes cultural exchange and enhances international diplomacy.
The 2018 Paderewski Festival celebrates the centennial of Poland’s regained independence after World War I with a variety of concerts and other public events held throughout Paso Robles November 1-4. This year’s highlights include performances by Cultural Exchange Program students from Poland and Ukraine and a Master Class with Kate Liu, Third Prize Winner of the 2015 Chopin Competition in Warsaw. Ms. Liu will also be featured in the November 3 Gala Recital at the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom, performing works by Chopin, Paderewski, Beethoven, and Prokofiev.
The world premiere of Three Paderewskis, a musical authored by a creative team from Southern California, will be staged at Park Ballroom on November 2, and winners of the Youth Piano Competition will be presented in a free concert at the PR Inn Ballroom on November 3.
The 2018 celebration also marks a decade of sister city status between Paso Robles and Tarnów, Poland, a relationship signed by former Paso Robles mayor Frank Mecham at Paderewski’s estate in Poland. Over the last ten years, Central Coast sponsors, the Consulate General of Poland in Los Angeles, and various partners in Poland have generously supported this Cultural Exchange Program. It provides cultural, educational, business, and youth development opportunities and creating lasting bonds between people throughout the world.
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