Paulina Ostrowska, Nazar Kozlyuk, Olha Pokhvata & Michał Niedbała
On Sunday, November 9 at 11:00 am in the Ballroom of the Paso Robles Inn, we heard the final event in the 2014 Paderewski Festival — a recital that showcased four International Cultural Exchange students from Russia and Ukraine who during the past four days have been attending all festival events and participating in recitals and master classes.
Master of ceremonies Marek Zebrowski, Artistic Director of the Festival, greeted the audience and expressed appreciation of the donors who make the Festival possible — several local vineyards and the Government of Poland (represented at the Festival by Mariusz M. Brymora, Consul General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles).
The first performer on the program, Olha Pokhvata, 15, played for us the first movement of Mozart’s Sonata in F Major, K.332, a lyrical and haunting Elegy in G-sharp minor by Yurly Shchurovsky and finished with Chopin’s Mazurka in A minor, Op. 67, No. 2.
Next, Michał Niedbała, 17, who attends the Paderewski Music School in Tarnów, Poland, opened with a fleet performance of the final movement of Beethoven’s “Tempest” Sonata and finished with Gershwin’s Prelude No. 3. In between, he surprised us with Improvisation 15 “Homage á Édith Piaf,” a charming piece that he played with loving tenderness.
Nazar Kozlyuk, 17, charmed us with lovely performances of Paderewski’s Nocturne in B-flat Major, Op. 16, No. 4, and Liszt’s Consolation No. 3 in D-flat Major. He ended his selections with a brilliant performance of Rachmaninoff’s Humoresque, Op. 10, No. 5.
The final performer, Paulina Ostrowska, 20, a graduate of the Paderewski Music School in Tarnów, is currently studying at the Centre of Contemporary Music in London. She played for us”Fly Free” by English composer John Maul (b. 1959), a charming new age styled piece, and Paderewski’s Variations, Op. 16. No. 3, which many in the audience probably had never heard before. This is a substantial piece that deserves more frequent hearings and her performance displayed considerable charm and vitality as she wound up to the final climax.
An appreciative audience gave the performers a standing ovation.