Historical interpretations of Friderick Chopin works

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Ignacy Jan Paderewski - biography


gnacy Jan Paderewski, a Polish pianist, composer and statesman, was born on 6 November 1860 in Kurylowka (Podolia province in the Russian part of Poland), and died on 29 June 1941 in New York. His musical education began with private lessons of piano and violin playing. From 1873 to 1878 he continued his studies in piano classes under Juliusz Janotha and Jan Śliwiński at the Music Institute in Warsaw. At his diploma concert he played, among other pieces, the Grieg Concerto in A minor. As a student he went on two concert tours of Russia. In 1882 he left for Berlin to study composition under Friedrich Kiel, and later, in 1884, under Heinrich Urban. The first concert of his own works took place in 1883 in Berlin, and the second two years later in Warsaw. In 1884 and in 1885, and at the turn of 1887 and 1888 he studied piano under Theodor Leschetizky in Vienna. He made his debut in Vienna in 1885, but his first major success was at the Parisian Salle Érard on 3 March 1888. Soon he was known in Brussels, Prague, Lyon, Bordeaux and elsewhere. His spectacular debut in London took place on 9 May 1890 at St. James Hall, and since then his virtuoso career with performances on several continents continued until his death. Due to his political activity, Paderewski was forced to take some time off his artistic work. In 1919 he became the Prime Minister in the Polish government and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was a so-called "charismatic artist", captivating the hearts of his audiences with his performances. When he appeared on the stage, the audience welcomed him with standing ovation. A critic wrote: "his playing was an extraterrestrial phenomenon, unexperienced so far. Paderewski could touch the deepest and the most delicate emotions, in an uninhibited way could he strike a chord with people's hearts”. He remained an ideal artist figure for many generations and was called "The King of Pianists". He gave his last concert in Poland in 1924. After the outbreak of World War I, he and the writer Henryk Sienkiewicz founded and led the Komitet Generalny Pomocy Ofiarom Wojny in Poland (General Committee of the Polish War Victims Relief Fund), whose aim was to help regain independence for Poland. In 1917 Paderewski presented President Wilson with a memorandum for Poland, which was later used in the President's peace address. In 1939 he supported his motherland again by appealing to the US government to assist efforts to help Poles in war conditions. He took up teaching only for a short time at the beginning of his career, when he worked at the Music Institute in Warsaw and at the Conservatory in Strasbourg. Apart from that, he only occasionally gave private lessons to selected pupils. He rested at the Arlington cemetery in Washington for fifty years until in 1992, when his ashes were placed at Saint John's Cathedral in Warsaw. His compositional output embraces orchestral works (inter alia: the Symphony in B flat minor, Piano Concerto in A minor, Polish Fantasy in G sharp minor), chamber pieces, piano pieces (the Sonata in E flat minor, Variations in E flat minor, mazurkas, krakowiaks, intermezzos and characteristic pieces), as well as songs for voice and piano. In 1937 he commenced editing Chopin's Complete works with Józef Turczyński and Ludwik Bronarski. His pupils included Harold Bauer, Aleksander Brachocki, Stanisław Bielicki, Zygmunt Dygat, Maryla Jonas, Witold Małcużyński, Stanisław Nawrocki, Stanisław Niedzielski, Henryk Opieński, Ernest Schelling, Aleksander Sienkiewicz, Zygmunt Stojowski, Stanisław Szpinalski, Antonina Szumowska, Henryk Sztompka and Aleksander Tadlewski.

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