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Paso Robles' Paderewski Festival, Nov. 6-7, goes virtual 

I think it's safe to say Polish pianist, composer, and eventual Prime Minister Ignacy Jan Paderewski is Paso Robles' most famous resident. I mean, Frank and Jesse James were just passing through, and isn't Josh Brolin's ranch technically in Templeton?

Paderewski moved to California in 1913, and right before the start of World War I, while he was arguably at the height of his fame as a pianist and composer, he bought the 2,000-acre Rancho San Ignacio. In 1923, he planted zinfandel vines on the property, which were eventually processed at York Mountain Winery. In between, he advocated for Polish independence, became the new nation's prime minister in 1919, and signed the Treaty of Versailles. The James brothers robbed and killed a bunch of people, and Brolin is just a movie star, after all.

click to enlarge CHANNELING PADEREWSKI Pianist Adam Zukiewicz headlines Paso Robles' 2020 virtual Paderewski Festival on Nov. 6, streaming live from the University of Northern Colorado/Greeley. - PHOTO COURTESY OF ADAM ZUKIEWICZ
  • Photo Courtesy Of Adam Zukiewicz
  • CHANNELING PADEREWSKI Pianist Adam Zukiewicz headlines Paso Robles' 2020 virtual Paderewski Festival on Nov. 6, streaming live from the University of Northern Colorado/Greeley.

Every year, Paso Robles honors its most famous resident with The Paderewski Festival, which started in 1993 with a collection of concerts, vineyard tours, wine tastings, and presentations of Polish culture and history. This year, thanks to this global pandemic thing, the festival will be held entirely online, Friday, Nov. 6, and Saturday, Nov. 7, with headlining performer pianist Adam Piotr Zukiewicz.

"This year's Festival Gala concert will be a virtual event, taking place online on Friday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. PST, and livestreamed from the University of Northern Colorado/Greeley," organizers announced. "Access for the worldwide audience will be provided by a link upon completing guest registration with the Festival (paderewskifest.com)."

The concert will be performed on a Steinway D in 650-seat Campus Commons Performance Hall at the University of Northern Colorado, on what would have been Paderewski's 160th birthday. Zukiewicz, who was also born in Poland, will open his recital with Ludwig van Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata," which Paderewski played in the 1937 film Moonlight Sonata, directed by Lothar Mendes and starring Charles Farrell and Marie Tempest.

Zukiewicz will also play works by Chopin and Paderewski, including Chopin's Barcarolle, Op. 60, and Paderewski's set of Variations and Fugue, Op. 11.

"The last segment of Maestro Zukiewicz's live performance will be devoted to music by American composers, with George Gershwin's 1926 'Three Piano Preludes' and Oscar Peterson's 'Goodbye, Old Friend' in an arrangement for piano solo by Don Thompson and Zukiewicz," organizers added.

The registration fee for the online concert is $5 on the festival website or by calling (805) 235-5409.

Zukiewicz is an award-winning and internationally acclaimed concert pianist and piano professor at the University of Northern Colorado. He's performed all around the world, from Hong Kong to Brazil to Europe to Canada.

"He also serves as a resident faculty pianist at the International Music Festival of the Adriatic in Duino (Italy), and is a founder and the artistic director of the Intercollegiate Piano Competition of the West," according to press materials. "On Saturday morning, Nov. 7, Mr. Zukiewicz will present a virtual lecture on Chopin and Cherubini for a select Festival audience. This event is primarily directed toward Friends of Paderewski, Festival VIPs, and corporate sponsors. Invitation to a Zoom conference with Mr. Zukiewicz will be sent out by the Festival."

That afternoon, on Nov. 7, winners of the Youth Piano Competition will be presented online in a pre-recorded $5 concert, and donations will be accepted during the broadcast to support young musicians throughout the Central Coast. Ignacy would be proud.

Quarantune

click to enlarge TWISTED REDUX Cambria performer Mary Anne Anderson recently released a new version of the old standard "Twisted," with reinvented COVID-19-era lyrics, available on YouTube. - PHOTO COURTESY OF MARY ANNE ANDERSON
  • Photo Courtesy Of Mary Anne Anderson
  • TWISTED REDUX Cambria performer Mary Anne Anderson recently released a new version of the old standard "Twisted," with reinvented COVID-19-era lyrics, available on YouTube.

Cambria resident, poet, and jazz singer Mary Anne Anderson hit it out of the park with her new take on the jazz standard classic "Twisted," which original goes like this: "My analyst told me that I was right out of my head/ The way he described it, he said I'd be better dead than live/ I didn't listen to his jive/ I knew all along he was all wrong/ And I knew that he thought I was crazy but I'm not/ Oh no!"

Maybe you remember Annie Ross' 1960 take on the track, or perhaps Joni Mitchell's 2012 update. In Anderson's COVID-era update, she sings, "My analyst called me to say she was closing up shop/ The way she described it, she said it was best to drop us all/ She couldn't cope with all this mess/ The COVID outbreak has caused too much distress/ and she said it was best, before she ended up depressed.

"My herbalist told me that I should take lavender baths/ it would so soothing, but all I could do was laugh it off/ What did he know how could he help/ when all the astounding reviews found on Yelp/ were just written by friends. Was he a phony in the end?"

She goes on to mention closed schools, Zoom instruction, the CDC, Dr. Fauci, POTUS, and sheltering in place. It's very well done, very clever, and obviously very timely! Make yourself a Quarantini (there are recipes online), sit back, and check it out on YouTube (youtu.be/P8_hKQ6_02s). Δ

Contact Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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