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Paderewski Festival in Paso Robles announces 2021 lineup 

Ignacy Jan Paderewski

Ignacy Jan Paderewski.

Festival kicks off on Friday, Nov. 5

–The 2021 Paderewski Festival returns to live concerts, open to the public in various venues in and around Paso Robles, on Nov. 5-7. Paderewski Patrons and Friends of Paderewski passes as well as general public tickets are now available at paderewskifest.com.

The festival begins on Friday, Nov. 5 at the Park Ballroom (1232 Park Street, in downtown Paso Robles) with a program of string quartet music by Stanisław Moniuszko and Szymon Laks, presented by the Messages String Quartet. To bring the community of Paderewski Festival supporters together after a year of pandemic-induced closures and to recognize their longstanding and generous patronage, the board decided to make the Friday, Nov. 5 concert at the Park Ballroom free and open to the public. The wine reception begins at 7 p.m., the concert at 7:30 p.m.

Stanisław Moniuszko (1819-1872), known as the father of Polish opera and the author of over 300 songs for voice and piano, also wrote two charming string quartets. The Friday night program will open with Moniuszko’s String Quartet No. 1 in D minor, a work written in 1840 in Berlin, where he studied composition. This four-movement piece features a rich selection of attractive melodies based on Polish folklore and is stylistically reminiscent of the string quartets of Haydn and Schubert.

Szymon Laks (1901-1983) was a remarkable composer and author, who first studied mathematics and law before entering the Warsaw Conservatory in 1921. By 1925 he had left Warsaw for Vienna, where he worked as piano accompanist for silent films and then moved to Paris to study at the Conservatoire. Founder of the Young Polish Musicians’ Association in Paris, Laks permanently settled in France in 1929. He was arrested by the Nazis in 1941 and deported to Auschwitz in 1942. Laks survived the Holocaust by being appointed the head of the concentration camp orchestra. His first two string quartets are lost, but his String Quartet No. 3—a four-movement work written in 1946 and subtitled “On Popular Polish Themes”—is based on Polish folklore and contains some of the music Laks performed with his orchestra at Auschwitz.

The Messages String Quartet is a world-renowned ensemble who has recorded the complete Moniuszko and Laks string quartets on CD as well as string quartets by another Polish émigré composer, Andrzej Panufnik, for the DUX label. Recordings by this all-female quartet have attracted rave reviews from such prestigious worldwide press outlets as Le Monde, Pizzicato, Ruch Muzyczny, and Crescendo Magazine, among others.

The 2021 Paderewski Festival will continue on Saturday, Nov. 6, when all festival events will take place at the Barrel Room located in the original Cass Winery tasting room (7350 Linne Road, on the West side of Paso Robles).

  • 5 p.m. winners of the 2021 Youth Piano Competition will be showcased in a Cass Barrel Room recital. Aged 9-18, the competitors in this year’s Junior and Senior divisions will present their winning repertoire to the assembled audience. The Youth Competition Winners’ Concert on Saturday, Nov. 6 at Cass Winery has been traditionally free and open to the public and it remains so this year as well.
  • 6 p.m. Patrons and Friends of Paderewski are invited to a complimentary Central European-themed meal prepared by the award-winning Cass Kitchen Catering. The menu will feature Chicken Kiev, Schnitzel, Bigos, Pierogi and other Central European culinary delights. The general public is invited to purchase the meal together with their festival tickets.
  • 7 p.m. Epoch Wines—our Gala sponsor—will offer a complimentary wine reception on the Cass Winery veranda.
  • 7:30 p.m. Gala Concert featuring pianist Kevin Kenner. Finalist in the 1990 Chopin Competition in Warsaw and winner of the Best Polonaise Prize that year, Maestro Kenner will present a program of romantic piano works by Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) and Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941). The Gala Recital will open with Chopin’s sparkling Andante spianato and Grand Polonaise, Op. 22 and will be followed by an extensive selection of virtuoso works by Paderewski, including the rarely-heard Toccata “Dans le desert,” Op. 15, and the complete set of Six Concert Humoresques, Op. 14.

 

On Sunday, Nov. 7, Friends of Paderewski and Paderewski Patrons only are invited to a special brunch in an elegant vineyard residence. These steadfast supporters of the festival will enjoy an intimate salon concert featuring previous youth competition winners and other festival partners.

Ticket details:

Opening Concert (Friday, Nov. 5 – 7 p.m. wine reception, 7:30 p.m. concert): Free admission, RSVP required. Youth Competition Winners’ Recital (Saturday, Nov. 6 – 5:00 p.m.): Free admission, RSVP required. Gala Concert (Saturday, Nov. 6 – 7 p.m. wine reception, 7:30 p.m. concert): $35 general public/$10 students.

Saturday meal options: $60 per person (food only); $75 per person (food and wine). Free to Friends of Paderewski and Paderewski Patrons.

Festival Passes: Friends of Paderewski $250. Includes priority seating at all events, complimentary food and wine on Saturday, Sunday private brunch, and guaranteed space should the audience size be limited due to any changes in SLO County health regulations. Paderewski Patrons: $500. Includes all of the above amenities, plus an exclusive dinner with the Gala artist on Friday night. The 2021 Festival Pass pricing remains unchanged from previous years.

The Paderewski Festival’s major sponsors and longtime partners include Epoch Estate Wines, Cass Winery, Park Ballroom/Acorn Management, Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles, and USC Polish Music Center.

For more information go to paderewskifest.com website, email paderewskifestpaso@gmail.com, or call (805) 235-5409.

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About the author: News Staff

The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.