Polish Music Center at USC Celebrates Paderewski’s Sesquicentennial

November 3, 2010

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — November 3, 2010 — To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the Polish Music Center at USC is devoting the 2010 Paderewski Lecture-Recital to Paderewski and his music. Events also encompass an exhibit of Paderewski memorabilia and a panel discussion of Paderewski’s legacy with leading USC and international scholars.

All 2010 Paderewski-themed events are free and open to the public.

Ignacy Jan Paderewski, pianist, composer, humanitarian, politician, and California resident was born on November 6, 1860. His meteoric career in music and public life was widely covered by the media, starting with his Paris debut in 1888. He made twenty tours of the U.S., visiting California for the first time in 1896. In 1914 he stopped for a hot springs cure in Paso Robles and purchased 3000 acres of land, where he pioneered Zinfandel and Syrah grape cultivation and almond growing. A friend of all U.S. presidents from McKinley to FDR, Paderewski was especially close to Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover. Thanks to Paderewski’s advocacy on behalf of Poland, Wilson incorporated plans for Poland’s independence after World War I and Paderewski served as Poland’s first Prime Minister and delegate to the League of Nations during the years 1919-1922. USC recognized Paderewski’s unprecedented achievements in music and public service with an honorary doctorate conferred in February 1923 in a ceremony presided by USC President Rufus B. von KleinSmid.

The Polish Music Center — part of the USC Thornton School of Music — is a research institution and library specializing in Polish contemporary music. Its manuscript collection is unparalleled outside of Poland, with scores by such modern masters as Lutosławski, Penderecki, and Bacewicz, among others. Since 2002, Paderewski’s links to USC are recognized in the Paderewski Lecture-Recital, an annual event presenting music by contemporary composers. In recent years, the Polish Music Center received a large gift of Paderewski memorabilia called the Paso Robles Collection, which includes personal items, correspondence, concert programs, documents, and private photographs.


Paderewski – The Modern Immortal
Exhibit Opening & Reception
Thursday, November 4 @ 5:30 pm
Treasure Room, Doheny Library
Includes personal, never publically exhibited documents from the Polish Music Center collection and the USC libraries collection. Will run through May 2011.

2010  Paderewski Lecture-Recital
Thursday, November 4
Newman Recital Hall, 7:30 pm
Dr. Malgorzata Perkowska-Waszek (world’s foremost authority on Paderewski, author numerous books and publications on Paderewski and researcher at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland) will deliver the lecture, “Paderewski and His Muses” highlighting newly discovered personal correspondence of Paderewski. British-born pianist Jonathan Plowright will perform works by Paderewski and Chopin. With an impressive discography and a very busy concert calendar, pianist Jonathan Plowright’s international career has been on the rise for at least a decade. The main focus of his repertoire includes music by late Romantic composers, with Paderewski taking the pride of place in a lineup that also includes such names as Zygmunt Stojowski (1870-1946) and Henryk Melcer (1869-1928). Mr. Plowright performs seven pieces from Miscellanea, Paderewski’s Op. 16, and Chopin’s F minor Fantaisie, op. 49.

What Makes a Man Immortal?
A Panel Discussion of Paderewski’s Legacy
Friends of the USC Libraries Lecture Hall, Doheny Library
Friday, November 5 @ 2:30 pm
Panel discussion featuring USC University Professor and Professor of history Kevin Starr and Professor Nicholas Cull, chair of the Master’s Program in Public Diplomacy at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, as well as Dr. Perkowska-Waszek and Jonathan Plowright. Moderated by Marek Zebrowski. Reception following the event.


Saturday, November 6 @ 5pm
KUSC-FM one-hour special on Paderewski, as well as a KUSC “Spotlight on the Arts” with Brian Lauritzen which will run the week of November 8.

Wednesday, November 10 – Sunday, November 14
Vina Robles Winery, Mission San Miguel, Cass Winery, Ballroom-Paso Robles Inn, and Pear Valley Winery are hosts of the 2010 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles. This year’s anniversary edition of the Festival features concerts, lectures, exhibit, master classes by Jonathan Plowright and Marek Zebrowski, and performances by young Polish pianists visiting Paso Robles on the Youth Exchange program with the Province of TarnÛw, Poland, where Paderewski’s former manor house is located. For further details on this festival, please visit

About the USC Thornton School of Music
The USC Thornton School of Music brings together a stellar faculty chosen from a broad spectrum of the music profession and musically gifted students from around the globe. Founded in 1884, and today the oldest continually operating cultural institution in Los Angeles, the Thornton School consistently ranks among the top one percent of the nation’s music schools and conservatories. Graduates of the school attain positions with major orchestras, ensembles, recording studios and music industry firms and perform on stages and in studios around the world.

Blending the rigors of a traditional conservatory-style education with the benefits of studying at a leading research university, the Thornton School offers students a thorough music education in a real-world context. Located at the center of Los Angeles, the school is a collegiate partner of choice for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, to name a few.

In addition to their work with these ensembles, Thornton students are a constant presence in local classrooms, reaching out to the next generation of musicians through music education and appreciation courses. With its faculty, its students, its events and its work, the Thornton School is one of the most important cultural resources in Los Angeles.

Contact: Krysta Close at the Polish Music Center, 213-821-1356 orpolmusic@thornton.usc.edu