CM: Ignacy Jan Paderewski GBE (1860-1941) was a Polish pianist, composer, diplomat and politician, and the third Prime Minister of Poland. He was born on 18 November 1860 in the village of Kurylovka (Kuryłówka) in the province of Podolia, then in the Russian Empire, present Ukraine. His father was an administrator of large estates. His mother, Poliksena (née Nowicka), died several months after Paderewski was born, and he was brought up by his distant relatives. From his early childhood, Paderewski was interested in music. Initially he took piano lessons with a private tutor. At the age of twelve, in 1872, he went to Warsaw and was admitted to the Warsaw Conservatorium. After graduating in 1878, he was asked to become a tutor of piano classes at his alma mater, which he accepted. In 1880 Paderewski married Antonina Korsakówna, and soon afterwards, their first child was born. The following year, they discovered that the son was handicapped; soon afterward, Antonina died. Paderewski decided to devote himself to music, and in 1881 he went to Berlin to study music composition with Friedrich Kiel and Heinrich Urban. In 1884 he moved to Vienna, where he was a pupil of Teodor Leszetycki. It was in Vienna that he made his musical debut in 1887. He soon gained great popularity and his subsequent appearances in Paris (1889) and London (1890) were major successes. His brilliant playing created a furor which reached to almost extravagant lengths of admiration; and his triumphs were repeated in the United States in 1891. His name at once became synonymous with the highest level of piano virtuosity, and society was at his feet. In 1899 Paderewski married Baroness de Rosen. Apart from being a pianist, Paderewski was also a substantial composer, including many pieces for piano. In 1901 his sole opera Manru received the world premiere at Dresden, then it had American premiere in 1902 at the Metropolitan Opera and to this day remains the only Polish opera by a Polish composer ever performed there.
Ignacy Jan Paderewski died on 29 June 1941 in New York City, and his body was interred in Arlington Cemetery, near Washington D.C. The Polish Museum of America in Chicago received a donation of Paderewski's personal possessions following his death. Both Ignacy Paderewski and his sister, Antonina Paderewska Wilkonska were enthusiastic supporters and generous sponsors of the Museum. Antonina, executor of Ignacy's will, decided to donate these personal possessions to the Museum. In addition, the management of the Buckingham Hotel in New York City , where Ignacy spent the last months of his life, allowed Antonina to obtain the furnishings from the suite of rooms he had occupied. These furnishings were also donated to the Museum. With the assistance of Ignacy's personal secretary, the furnishings and his personal mementos were arranged for public display in the room that had been the first display room of the Museum in 1937. This revised space was officially re-opened with a special dedication ceremony on 3 November 1941, the date that would have marked Paderewski's 81st birthday. In 1948 the Ignacy Paderewski Foundation was established in New York, on the initiative of the Polish community in the USA, York, to promote Polish culture in America. Due to the unusual combination of the notable achievements of being a world class pianist and a successful politician, Paderewski has become a favourite example of philosophers, and is often discussed in relation to Saul Kripke's A Puzzle about Belief for having a name that denotes two distinct qualities, that of being a politician and that of being a pianist.