Ignacy Jan Paderewski longed to establish a music school for young people in Paso Robles, California—his beloved American retreat—and the Paderewski Festival Cultural Exchange Program seeks to foster that dream. In November 2008, the Cultural Exchange was initiated by a Sister Cities agreement between Paso Robles and Tarnów, Poland, where Paderewski and his wife honeymooned and lived for several years after their marriage. The Exchange 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. In June 2013, students and teachers from Khmilnyk in the Ukraine (where Paderewski was born) joined the Exchange Program as well.
The Paderewski Festival Cultural Exchange Program provides annual opportunities for young musicians from California’s Central Coast, Tarnów and Khmilnyk 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 and Ukrainian 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. In even years, young Polish and Ukrainian musicians come to Paso Robles, staying with host families in California while studying with internationally renowned pianists and performing during the Paderewski Festival.
At this moment, two young finalists from the Paderewski Competition—Daniel Ha and Kannan Freyaldenhoven (pictured above)—are in Poland for the 2015 Exchange Program, which takes place from June 25 – July 11. They are joined by young Polish musicians Miłosz Marcinkiewicz and Magdalena Kuropatwa and Ukrainian musicians Oleksandr Olehovych Dzvinkovskiy and Yuliya Volodymyrivna Medynska for all workshops and concerts in and around Kąśna Dolna.
Once students from the US complete their workshops and concerts in Kąśna Dolna and Kraków, they will enjoy additional opportunities that have been added to this year’s schedule, including VIP tours of Radziejowice Palace, Żelazowa Wola and the Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw.
See next month’s Newsletter for a full report!