Paderewski's star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
To mark the anniversary, a special concert is held tonight in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace under the patronage of President Bronisław Komorowski. Paderewski’s Symphony in B minor, subtitled ‘Polonia’, will be performed by Sinfonia Varsovia under Jerzy Maksymiuk.
The work was composed in 1907 as Paderewski’s “patriotic tribute to his homeland”.
Paderewski was a statesman, orator, intellectual, composer and, above all, one of the most famous and popular pianists of all times.
As a virtuoso he was adored not only by the greatest celebrities of his time, but by people from all walks of life.
He travelled all over the world, attracting the largest crowds in history. He once said that everything he achieved in music was one per cent the outcome of his talent and 99 per cent the result of hard work.
His pianistic career apart, Paderewski devoted much time to composition, primarily with himself in mind as performer of his pieces.
The Minuet in G major, included in the first volume of Humoresques, is among the most popular pieces of music ever written. The Sarabande and the Krakowiak fantastique are also excellent flagships of Paderewski the composer.
Paderewski’s friendships with many of the leading statesmen of Europe and America paved the way for his political activity.
He fought for the Polish cause and became an authority on Polish issues. As Poland's Prime Minister (16 January 1919 – 9 December 1919) he signed the Versailles Peace Treaty.
Consequently, a pianist's hands helped shape a new Poland, which emerged as an independent state after over 120 years under foreign rule.
At the end of the First World War the Big Four (Wilson, Clemenceau, Lloyd George and Orlando), wrote about Paderewski in a joint letter: “No country could wish for a better advocate”.
The American president Franklin D. Roosevelt called him a “modern immortal”.
Paderewski died on 29 June 1941 and was buried at Arlington Military Cemetery in Washington. In 1992, at the request of President Lech Wałęsa, his remains were brought to Poland and buried at St John’s Cathedral in Warsaw. (mk/pg)