Ignacy Jan Paderewski

World-famous pianist, composer and educator, but also a politician and champion of Poland’s independence. He learned at Warsaw’s Music Institute (1873–1878), where he later taught the piano. In 1882 and again in 1884 he studied twice for half a year in Berlin. His piano studies with Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna were made possible by Helena Modrzejewska’s support. He was a lecturer in harmony and counterpoint at Strasbourg Conservatory.
The first of his many recitals in France took place on 3rd March 1888 at the Parisian Salle Érard. It inaugurated the pianist’s European and later worldwide career, with concert tours in Europe, the USA, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania. Paderewski notched up successes everywhere and earned a fortune. He frequently donated large sums to artistic, education, social and national causes.
Considered by his contemporaries as the greatest pianist since Franz Liszt, he boasted an excellent technique, but more than mere virtuosity he valued appropriate interpretation and understanding of the composer’s intentions. He conveyed the music’s structure and inner logic to his audience in an apt and convincing manner. Playing rubato was an important element of his style. As a respected Chopin performer, he passed his ‘Romantic’ model of interpretation on to younger generations of pianists.
Paderewski’s output of compositions is not large but relatively varied. He wrote an opera and a symphony, three cycles of piano variations, two sonatas for violin and piano, solo songs, pieces for piano and orchestra. Most of all, however, he focused on miniatures for solo piano. He was one of the first composers to become interested in the folklore and music of the Polish highlands.
Concert life, composing, and later political activity alternated and coincided in his life. Such works as Polish Fantasy Op. 19, opp. 21–23, the opera Manru, and Symphony in B Minor, composed at the peak of his career, were frequently performed by the best European and US orchestras under renowned conductors.

Phot. Louis-Auguste Bisson
Przewiń do góry