Sofiya Dashak, Antón de la Fuente, Piotr Lara, Małgorzata Machowska & Bohdan Terletskyy
The Paderewski Festival is a four-day festival held in Paso Robles every year in November celebrating Paderewski’s heritage as virtuoso pianist, composer, and international statesman — he was the First Premier of Poland after World War I. The Festival features concerts, exhibits, lectures, master classes and film screenings, as well as wine tasting and and tours of local vineyards.
As a part of this year’s Festival four exchange students from Poland and Ukraine are in California for ten days to enjoy the delights of our central coast and to perform in concerts during the Festival in Paso Robles. In preparation for their concert at the Festival on Sunday, November 4, the young students performed a brief recital at the home of Lyn & Renée Bronson for a small audience of invited guests, followed by a candlelit reception. In alternate years, four American students from the Paso Robles Paderewski Festival are sent to Poland for a ten-day, all-expenses paid, participation in the Polish Paderewski Festival
Opening the evening’s recital was Małgorzata Machowski, 18, from Gorlice, Poland, who performed for us Paderewski’s Légende, Op. 16, No. 1. Małgorzata brought out unsuspected beauty in her charming performance that revealed a beautiful cantabile and lovely shaping of phrases.
The next performance was by Antón de la Fuente, 19, a resident of Monterey and a former pupil of Lyn Bronson, who was one of the four American students sent to Poland last year. Anton gave us a lovely, lyrical performance of Chopin’s Nocturne in F Minor, Op. 55, No. 1.
Sofiya Dashak, 18, from Ukraine, surprised us with an intensely sensitive performance of Schubert’s Impromptu, Op. 90, No. 4. Full of unexpected and delightful expressive shadings, it was a lovely and artistic performance.
Bohdan Terletskyy, 13, from Lviv, Ukraine, startled us with the two opening notes of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, which were so loud and violent, I thought for a moment we were about to hear a transcription of Liszt’s tone poem Hunnenschlacht (the Battle of the Huns). However, Bohdan reined in the violence and managed to give us a powerful and effective performance of the Rhapsody.
The final performer was Piotr Lara, 17, a student at the Rutkowski Music School in Kraow, Poland, who gave us an expressive and powerful performance of Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 23.
But wait, there was more. To finish off the evening of music, we heard two four-hand duet performances of works by Gershwin, The Man I Love and Fascinating Rhythm. The duet partners in The Man I Love were Małgorzata Machowska & Bohdan Terletskyy, and in Fascinating Rhythm were Sofiya Dashak & Antón de la Fuente.
The Gershwin performances were fabulous. What a way to end a concert!