2014 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles November 5-9

Paso Robles, CA – The 2014 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles celebrates the legacy of Paso Robles’ most famous resident Ignacy Jan Paderewski – virtuoso pianist, composer, international politician, local landowner, grower and winemaker – with four days of concerts and special events featuring international renowned performers, young pianists from California’s Central Coast, master classes, film, dance and wine tasting.  The Festival will be held in several venues in Paso Robles, California, November 5-9, 2014. Admission ranges from free to $30 depending on the event; VIP tickets for all events are $200.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.paderewskifest.com or by calling (805) 235-5409.

This year’s Saturday, November 8 Gala Concert performer is Zheeyoung Moon, a pianist born in South Korea and now residing in Berlin.  A promising young artist who has performed across the globe and won several very prestigious piano competitions – including First Prize at the 2013 International Paderewski Piano Competition in Bydgoszcz, Poland – Ms. Moon will present works by Chopin, Paderewski, Schumann and Liszt. The highlights of her program include Chopin’s Op. 35 Sonata and the “Heroic” Polonaise Op. 53, a group of Paderewski miniatures (including his celebrated Menuet and tender Nocturne), and Liszt’s brilliant Rhapsodie espagnole. On Friday, November 7, one day before her recital, Ms. Moon will conduct a piano master class that is open to all piano students and the general public free of charge.

The 2014 Festival opens on Paderewski’s birthday, Thursday, November 6 with Cassandra Tarantino and the Cuesta College North County Chorus, who will present an evening of choral music at Cass Winery in Paso Robles. The program will feature some Polish songs (including, in anticipation of the season, one of the most famous Christmas carols), as well as works by Bach, Mozart, and Dvořak. The Chorus will close their concert with a performance of Paderewski’s one and only composition for choir, Hej, Orle biały [Hey, White Eagle!], which was written for the Polish troops fighting with the Haller’s Army during World War I. A gourmet meal accompanied by wines from Cass Winery is available for purchase prior to the concert.

Two exceptional musicians will travel from Poland to perform for this year’s Festival on Friday, November 7. Violinist Mariusz Patyra—winner of the Paganini Violin Competition in Genoa, Italy—will be joined by pianist, composer and arranger Krzysztof Herdzin, whose catalogue of recordings exceeds 200 albums, among which are 16 Gold and three Platinum records. The Patyra-Herdzin Duet will present an evening of Romantic music, including works by Wieniawski, Chopin, Paganini, Dvořak, and others. Krzysztof Herdzin will also present a live improvisation on Chopin and Mariusz Patyra will demonstrate his sterling virtuosity in one of Paganini’s most iconic works, his Caprice no. 24 for solo violin. The concert will be held in the historic Park Ballroom in the heart of downtown Paso Robles.

Promoting music appreciation among young members of the community and fostering growth of the local talent are also important goals of the Paderewski Festival. It was a stated wish of Paderewski to endow and run a music school in Paso that would provide free tuition to all its students. Although his plans did not materialize during Paderewski’s lifetime, since 2007 the Festival has run a Youth Piano Competition for pianists residing in the three Central Coast counties. The winners of this year’s auditions (held in late October) will be presented during a Festival concert on Saturday afternoon, November 8. The Paso Robles Inn Ballroom will be the venue for this showcase of budding virtuosos and, in order to encourage the widest possible audience attendance, admission is free.

Since 2009, the Paderewski Festival and the Province of Tarnów in Poland have hosted an International Cultural Exchange in alternating years in Paso Robles and at Paderewski’s manor house in Kąśna Dolna, Poland. Winners of the Youth Piano Competition in Paso traveled to Poland in 2009, 2011 and 2013, while their Polish counterparts visited Paso to perform at the Festival in 2010 and 2012.

Celebrating and linking the three regions of the world associated with Paderewski’s life –his birthplace in the former Polish territories, his roots in southern Poland (Kraków and Kąśna Dolna), and his American home in Paso Robles where he owned large vineyards and almond tree ranches, this year two students from the Podolia Region where Paderewski was born in 1860 (now the Ukraine) will join two students from Poland. These students will be heard at Cass Winery on Wednesday, November 5 and at the Ballroom of the Paso Robles Inn on Sunday, November 9. The former concert is an invitation-only presentation, but the November 9 performance is free and open to the public. The young virtuosos will perform a variety of compositions by Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, Grieg, Debussy, Rachmaninoff and Paderewski. In addition, the two Ukrainian students will present music by two little-known Ukrainian composers, adding to our knowledge of musical culture in this part of the world.

Other Festival attractions (both free) include a Saturday, November 8 morning film screening and a noontime performance of Polish dances by the Krakusy Ensemble from Los Angeles. At 10 a.m. Park Cinemas will screen Impromptu, a delightful 1991 film about Chopin’s life in Paris starring Hugh Grant and Bernadette Peters. After the film screening, the Krakusy Ensemble will perform several Polish dances at the Gazebo in City Park, starting at 12:30 p.m. With their colorful costumes and invigorating rhythms, the Polish dance concert promises to be a fun addition to this year’s Paderewski Festival.

More information about the Ignacy Jan Paderewski and non-profit Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles can be found on the website www.paderewskifest.com.