Paul Festa (shown here in painter Jonathan Weinberg's portrait of their lesson) began violin studies at the age of two. In high school he won the San Francisco Symphony Young Musicians Award and toured internationally as soloist with orchestra, but a repetitive strain injury prevented him from taking conservatory auditions until his sophomore year at Yale. After three years at Juilliard, a period of continued struggle with his hand, Paul returned to Yale and subsequently to his native city of San Francisco, where he became a technology-news reporter and freelance essayist and critic.
In 2006 Paul completed Apparition of the Eternal Church, a film in which 31 artists spontaneously articulate their response to the music of Olivier Messiaen. Apparition screened throughout the US, Canada and Europe, winning several prizes and widespread acclaim. In 2010 Paul performed the Tchaikovsky violin concerto, opposite members of The San Francisco Ballet and The Cockettes, in his second film, The Glitter Emergency, a silent-film comedy about a peg-leg ballerina's triumphant return to the stage. With director Austin Forbord, Paul produced, edited and wrote and was chief archivist for the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco, many of whose subjects appear in the new film.
Night of a Thousand Agneses, a video performance based on the Tie lesson by Agnes de Garron, premiered at MIX NYC 2014 and was nominated for the 2015 Berlin Art Prize.
Tie It Into My Hand describes a musical life interrupted. It also tells the mosaicked story of the artist's life as experienced by its extraordinary array of teachers.
Paul divides his time between San Francisco and Berlin, where he lives with his husband James Harker. Projects in development include his first novel, The Inversions.