By Małgorzata Margo Schulz

In Paso Robles, a small Californian town, there is an exhibition of objects that belonged to Ignace Jan Paderewski. There is his bed, suitcases, and clothes.

Residents of Paso Robles know this great Pole not only as a statesman and pianist but one of the founders of their town.

Paderewski was a celebrity of his time; his personality and style made a huge impression on the audience, that was electrified by his music. Successful concerts in New York, prompted Paderewski to travel west and he came to California. In 1914 he purchased the ranch “San Ignacio” and in 1916 ranch “Santa Helena”,  where he grew vines and produced Zinfindel wine, for which he received a gold medal at the State of California Fair in 1934.

The train journey from San distance did not discourage Paderewski.  Between 1914 and 1939 he visited the western states many times. He played a concert in San Diego at Fisher’s Opera House, one of the most modern concert halls in America at the time. 

This big star of his time, he was very popular with journalists. They enjoy writing about this original and unique artist. At that time, almost 200 articles appeared in the New York Times about the world-famous Paderewski and his concerts in the USA.

This great Pole, pianist and diplomat is one of the 6 fathers of independence.

The Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles is also held in November to celebrate Poland reborn in 1918. During the festival, Polish flags appear in downtown.

During this year’s festival, which took place from November 7th to November 9th, virtuoso Kevin Kenner played works by Frederic Chopin and Ignace Paderewski in his Saturday, November 7th concert. The American pianist is a laureate of the Chopin Competition in Warsaw, in 1990.

After the pandemic break, there was also an annual piano competition, in which children and young people took part. 

Malgorzata Schulz

PAC National Director and Vice President of Public Relations

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