Gala, featuring Takeshi Nagayasu, is Nov. 2 at Paso Robles Inn Ballroom

By Melissa Chavez

The traditional four-day Paderewski Festival program will open in dramatic fashion this year with a Halloween-themed film music presentation titled “Dracula Rising: Ghosts of Hollywood Past” at Cass Winery on Thursday, Oct. 31. 

Ensemble for These Times, a contemporary music chamber group based in San Francisco, will perform music by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Bronisław Kaper, Wojciech Kilar, Erich Korngold, Alexander Tansman, and Henry Vars. Each music selection will feature projected visuals and still images from classic films. They include “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” “The Ninth Gate,” “Lili,” “The Man in the Vault,” and “Invitation.” 

This concert will be held in the newly constructed Cass Winery Barrel Room, nestled among the rows of vines and shaded by grand oak trees. Audience members are encouraged to arrive dressed in Halloween costumes for this thrilling event. A no-host buffet dinner begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by a no-host wine reception at 6:30 p.m. that precedes the 7 p.m. concert.

The restored Park Ballroom in downtown Paso Robles will host USC Thornton Baroque Sinfonia led by Rotem Gilbert on Friday, Nov. 1. The period-instrument ensemble will perform “Polish Baroque Treasures” with vocal and instrumental musical pieces from the 14th through 17th centuries that include works by Grzegorz Gerway Gorczycki, Marcin Mielczewski, Wacław of Szamotuły, and Mikołaj Zieleński. A 6:30 p.m. wine reception will precede the 7 p.m. concert.

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On Saturday afternoon, Nov. 2, the Paderewski Festival Youth Piano Competition Winners’ Recital will take place in the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom, just west of Paso Robles City Park. The 4 p.m. recital is open to all with free admission.

Also in the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom on Nov. 2 is the Saturday evening Festival Gala, featuring pianist Takeshi Nagayasu. The young virtuoso is the 2019 First Prize winner of the Kosciuszko Foundation’s Chopin Competition in New York City. Mr. Nagayasu will present music by Chopin, Paderewski, Szymanowski, and Sciabin, with Sciabin’s Sonata No. 5 and Chopin’s Sonata No. 3 among the program’s highlights. Epoch Estate Wines will host a wine reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the
7 p.m. concert.

To wrap the festival weekend on Sunday, Nov. 3, Paderewski Festival’s Artistic Director, Marek Żebrowski, will present an intriguing lecture on “Paderewski and World Politics” at York Mountain/Epoch Estate Wines. The lecture will mark Poland’s Independence Day (November 11), Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s time in office as prime minister of the newly independent Poland in 1919 and provide insight into the centenary of Polish-American diplomatic relations observed throughout this year. This 10 a.m. event is for The Friends of Paderewski and Paderewski Patrons only. 

At noon on Nov. 1 at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, Gala pianist Takeshi Nagayasu will hold a master class and share his insights on preparing concert repertoire and performing it with local music students.

To learn more about Ignacy Jan Paderewski influence in Paso Robles and the world, during the festival, everyone can view Paderewski-themed exhibits at Carnegie Library in City Park, Pioneer Museum, and Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce.

Admission prices for the 2019 Paderewski Festival range from free for children under 18 to $40 for premium admission, $20-35 for general admission with discounts 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 $250. Tickets can be purchased online at paderewskifest.com or by calling 805-235-5409.