Ignace Jan Paderewski
Ignace Jan Paderewski, born on November 6, 1860, became perhaps the most famous, and the most well-paid, classical pianist of the early 20th century. A relatively late starter as a pianist, he enrolled at the Warsaw Conservatory at age 12 but did not arrive at Leschetizky's studio until he was 24. Nonetheless his initial concert performances attracted much attention, not least for his charismatic stage personality. His debuts in Berlin, Paris and New York established his reputation. Always devoted to his native land, Paderewski served as Poland's premier and foreign minister following World War I, abandoning his concert activity for five years. He resumed his performances until his death (in New York, June 29, 1941) while keeping active in political matters, including Polish relief efforts after the 1939 Nazi invasion. In his earlier years Paderewski composed a considerable quantity of music (piano works, a symphony, and an opera). He also completed one volume of his memoirs. His earliest recordings date from 1911, when he was 51. A 1936 motion picture called "Moonlight Sonata" features Paderewski in four staple works from his repertoire.