Collection: Paderewski, Ignacy Jan

Ignacy Jan Paderewski

Ignacy Jan Paderewski (18 November 1860 – 29 June 1941) was a Polish pianist and composer who became a spokesman for Polish independence, and briefly the new nation's Prime Minister and for slightly longer its foreign minister, during which he signed the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I. A favorite of concert audiences around the world, his musical fame opened access to diplomacy and the media. During World War I, Paderewski advocated an independent Poland, including in the United States, where he met with President Woodrow Wilson, who came to support it. Creation of a Polish state became among Wilson's Fourteen Points at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, which led to the Treaty of Versailles.

Paderewski kept up a furious pace of touring and composition, including many of his own piano compositions in his concerts. He also wrote an opera, Manru, which to date has been the only opera by a Polish composer ever performed in the Metropolitan Opera's 135-year history. He was the first to give a solo performance at the new 3000- seat Carnegie Hall. Paderewski's compositions were quite popular during his lifetime, in particular his Fantaisie polonaise sur des thèmes originaux (Polish Fantasy on original themes) for piano and orchestra, piano Concerto in A minor, and Polonie symphony. His piano miniatures became especially popular (like Minuet in G major).