Paderewski at Paso Robles: A Great Pianist's Home Away from Home in California

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9780976173809: Paderewski at Paso Robles: A Great Pianist's Home Away from Home in California

Paderewski at Paso Robles: A Great Pianist's Home Away From Home in California. Overland Books, 2004. Cover and text designed by 1106 Design, Phoenix, Arizona. 96 pp with 20 black and white illustrations.

Paderewski at Paso Robles is the story of a twenty-five-year-long love affair between a great man and a little town in central California.

The Polish pianist, composer, and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) was an international celebrity of already legendary proportions when he came to Paso Robles in 1914, seeking relief from the debilitating neuritis that had forced him to suspend his latest American concert tour. Paderewski found a "cure" in the mud baths and sulphur springs of Paso Robles, but not before he began to buy up large tracts of land west of the town.

Between his wildly popular concert tours of Europe and America, and his epochal service as premier of Poland at the end of World War I, Paderewski sojourned regularly at Paso Robles, which became his American home away from home. His Paso Robles properties eventually included 2,864 acres, on which he grew almonds and choice wine grapes. He never built a house in the town, however, preferring to make his headquarters in the grand old Paso Robles Hot Springs Hotel, built between 1889 and 1891.

Paderewski was planning a return to Paso Robles when the Hot Springs Hotel burned to the ground in December 1940 (its site is now occupied by the Paso Robles Inn), and he died six months later in New York. But the people of the town never forgot him--nor did the music lovers, wine enthusiasts, and Polish and American patriots who remembered his enduring contributions to music, wine, and international friendship.

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About the Author:

Brian McGinty is an attorney, writer, and enthusiastic (but incorrigibly amateur) pianist. This book is based in part on his article, "Paderewski," which appeared in American History Illustrated for May/June 1991. It has been supplemented with extensive research into real property records, contemporary newspapers, and interviews of old Paso Robles residents with memories of Paderewski.

In addition to Paderewski at Paso Robles, McGinty is the author of The Palace Inns: A Connoisseur’s Guide to Historic American Hotels (Stackpole, 1978), We, the People: A Special Issue Commemorating the Two-Hundredth Anniversary of the U.S. Constitution (American History Illustrated, Summer 1987), Strong Wine: The Life and Legend of Agoston Haraszthy (Stanford University Press, 1998) , and more than 150 articles in popular magazines and scholarly journals. His new book, The Oatman Massacre: A Tale of Desert Captivity and Survival, will be published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2005.

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