Warsaw

Ignacy Paderewski Monument

  Park Ujazdowski ,   City Centre         more than a year ago

Born in Kuryłówka in 1860 Paderewski is fondly remembered as a politician, patriot and musician. Having entered the Warsaw Conservatorium at the age of 12 he worked as a piano tutor after graduation. The death of his wife, just a year after they married, spurred him to commit his life to music and in 1887 he made his public debut in Vienna. His talent was obvious and his growing popularity saw him storm both Europe and the States, not just as a pianist, but a masterful composer as well. He was based in Paris during WWI and it was during this time he became actively involved in politics, becoming spokesman for the Polish National Committee. With the end of the war he sought a return to his homeland where, having played a key role in the Wielkopolska Uprising (which saw Poznań merged into the newly reformed Polish state), he was elected Poland’s third ever prime minister. It was he who signed for Poland’s part in the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, though his fall from grace was just around the corner. Many thought he had sold Poland short and in the face of growing public discontent he resigned from office in December 1919. A short stint as Poland’s representative in the League of Nations followed before he opted to resume his musical career. Aside from being a skilled musician, the mop haired Paderewski was also a popular public speaker, known for his devastating wit. One anecdote recalls him being introduced to a polo player with the words: ‘You are both leaders in your spheres, though the spheres are very different’. Not one to miss a beat Paderewski deadpanned ‘Not so very different, you are a dear soul who plays polo, and I am a poor Pole who plays solo’. During WWII he became an eminent figure in the London based exiled Polish Parliament, though died in 1941 with the country of his birth still under occupation.

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Politechnika

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