June 13, 2018



Paso Robles, CA – The 2018 Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles announces the world premiere of a Paderewski-themed musical, Three Paderewskis, with music by Jenni Brandon and libretto by Oliver Mayer. The performance will feature actors, dancers and an ensemble of musicians from Southern California and will be held at Park Ballroom in Paso Robles on Friday, November 2, 2018 at 7 p.m.

Subtitled Poland, Exile, War, and wine, the musical portrays the three versions of Paderewski: Ignacy the pianist/composer, Jan the politician, and Paderewski the ancient sage and viticulturist. But when the ghost of Paderewski's first wife Antonina rejoins them, all three versions of the man come together as one with a passion that sheds light on the depths of their endless love. It is a loving, rousing musical about a man too big to be played by any one person, who changed the world not only through the piano but also through his lifetime dream to create the nation of Poland, as we know it today.

Librettist Oliver Mayer authored over 30 plays, including his newest, Members Only, the sequel to his groundbreaking Blade to the Heat, that opened on April 28 at Los Angeles Theatre Center, directed by Kinan Valdez. Mayer has also written the libretto for the opera America Tropical with composer David Conte. His new musical Three Paderewskis won the Adam Mickiewicz Institute’s Paderewski Project Competition. Mayer is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Strategic Initiatives at the USC School of Dramatic Arts and winner of several awards, including the USC Associates Award for Excellence in Teaching and a Mellon Mentoring Award.

Award winning composer, conductor and vocalist, Jenni Brandon is the recipient of the Sorel Medallion, the American Prize for Choral Composition, the Women Composers Festival of Hartford International Composition Competition, and the Bassoon Chamber Music Composition Competition Award. Her music appears on the Delos, Albany, Centaur, MSR Classics, and Longhorn labels. She is also active as a mezzo-soprano and has sung with the Boston Pops, Pacific Chorale, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and at the Hollywood Bowl.

Choreographer Saleemah Knight graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Arizona, and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from UC Irvine. Saleemah studied ballet, modern and jazz dance with such prestigious companies as Gus Giordano Chicago, River North Chicago, and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. She has performed in contemporary ballet works choreographed by Donald Byrd and was a featured dancer in The Lion King on Broadway. She has also performed with Beyoncé, Chris Brown, Jamie Foxx, Jillian Michaels, Tyrese, Ludacris and more. She is the professor of Jazz Dance at USC Kaufman School of Dance and gives masterclasses worldwide.

Director Jon Lawrence Rivera left the Philippines at 15, studied acting in Sydney and in the early 1990s pursued film directing at L.A. City College. Rivera also founded the Playwrights’ Arena, where he directed such musicals as Moscow (an award-winner at the 1998 Edinburgh Festival), All Souls’ Day, and Red Hat & Tales among others. Rivera directed Jessica Hagedorn’s Dogeaters at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, and helmed such iconic plays as Miss Saigon, Ruby, The Joy Luck Club, Hillary Agonistes (2007 NY Fringe Festival Award for Outstanding Direction), Havana Bourgeois (2008 GLAAD nomination), and Sea Change (2009 LA Weekly Award for Direction). Rivera’s spring 2018 engagements included directing the musical Honeymoon in Vegas at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, Bloodletting at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, and The Hotel Play staged in a downtown LA hotel with the audience going from room to room during the performance. A four-time Ovation Award nominee, as Artistic Director of Playwrights’ Arena his productions have garnered over a hundred local and international awards.

Admission for the 2018 Paderewski Festival ranges from free for children under 18 to $40 for premium admission, $35 for general admission, $25 for seniors over 60 and wine industry, and $5 for students 18 and over with ID.  Friends of Paderewski Festival Passes with preferred seating at all events are $225. Tickets may be purchased online at www.paderewskifest.com or by calling (805) 235-5409.

The 2018 Paderewski Festival Preliminary Schedule

Wednesday, October 31:

Cultural Exchange students from Poland and Ukraine in concert

Paso Robles High School (by invitation only, time TBD)

Thursday, November 1:

Cultural Exchange students from Poland and Ukraine in concert

 Time & Location TBD, Free

A Conversation with Corey: Paso musician on his musical journey

Cass Winery 6:30 PM wine reception (Cass), concert at 7 PM

Friday, November 2:

Master Class with pianist Katie Liu

Park Ballroom, Paso Robles. 11 a.m. Free

Three Paderewskis—A musical about Paderewski. Music by Jenni Brandon, Libretto by Oliver Mayer

Park Ballroom in Paso Robles.  6:30 p.m. wine reception (Adelaida), concert at 7 p.m.

Saturday, November 3:

Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition Winners' Recital

Paso Robles Inn Ballroom.  4 PM.  Free

Paderewski Festival Gala Recital with pianist Kate Liu

6:30 p.m. wine reception (Epoch Estate), concert at 7:30 p.m. Paso Robles Inn Ballroom

Sunday, November 4:

Paderewski Patrons and Friends of Paderewski Tour, Lunch and Wine Tasting and concert by Cultural Exchange Program and California students

Halter Ranch Vineyard, 10:30-2 p.m.

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