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Clarinetist extraordinaire Ken Peplowksi is all about jazz.

And he’s bringing his expertise to the Siletz Bay Music Festival.

Peplowksi grew up in Cleveland, Ohio playing in a Polish polka band. He played his first pro engagement when he was still in elementary school.

“From my first time performing in public, I knew I wanted to play music for a living,” Peplowksi said.

By the time Peplowksi was in his early teens, he was experimenting with jazz by playing in the school “stage” bands, and also by jamming with many of the local jazz musicians.

“By the time I hit high school, I was teaching at the local music store, playing in our family band, and playing jazz gigs around town while still getting up early every day for school.”

From his roots in the Midwest, Peplowksi has become one of the world’s best clarinetist and director of the Sarasota Jazz Festival, the Newport Beach Jazz Party, the Newport Oregon Jazz Festival, and Jazz Director for the Siletz Bay Music Festival.

Currently a resident of New York, Peplowksi frequently travels to the West Coast for his work.

“I love the state of Oregon,” Peplowksi told the News Guard. “The Siletz Bay Music Festival is a wonderful experience. It’s a really immersive thing. We’re there for three weeks. It’s really intensive: a lot of rehearsing. In a way, it's almost a summer camp for professional musicians.”

You’ll be able to see Peplowksi perform in numerous pieces throughout the festival including Musical Tapas on June 23 at Eden Hall, “Make ‘Em Laugh” at the Salishan Spa and Golf Resort on July 2, and the Siletz Bay Festival Orchestra on July 4.

“You’re never going to hear this combination again,” Peplowksi said of the performers coming together for the Festival. “It’s very audience-friendly. There’s a sense of fun and joy in playing this music. You have to bring the audience in a bit. I would say people should come because we forget the experience of live music. People think that watching a video on YouTube is experiencing music and it’s not.”

The Festival will begin with the “Gala Opening Night: All Chopin Recital” on June 19 at the Lincoln City Cultural Center at 7:30 pm.

Additional star performers this year include Sarah Kwak, prominent violinist and concertmaster of the of the Oregon Symphony, Mei-Ting Sun, gold medal winner of the National Chopin Competition. Virtuoso soloists from all over the world, and an orchestra comprised of consummate professionals have made the Siletz Bay Music Festival one of the Northwest’s premiere musical events.

For the Siletz Bay Music Festival schedule and ticket information, visit siletzbaymusic.org.

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