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Ignacy Jan Paderewski
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Musician
    (November 18, 1860-June 29, 1941)
    Born in Kurilovka, Ukraine
    Classical pianist/composer/Polish nationalist and politician
    Known for his interpretations of Bach, Schumann and Chopin
    Wrote 'Minuet in G' (1887), the opera 'Manru' (1901) and 'Symphony in B Minor (Polonia)' (1909)
    Spokesperson for the Polish National Committee during WWI
    Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs for Poland (January-December, 1919)
    Polish ambassador to the League of Nations (1919-22)
    Head of the Polish National Council in exile during WWII
    Buried at Arlington National Cemetary
    Remains transfered to St. John's Cathedral in Warsaw after the fall of Communism in Poland
    He was expelled from the Warsaw Conservatory after a fight with the orchestra director.
    He fell in love with his best friend's wife, and wed her after convincing the friend to have the marriage annulled on a technicality.
    During his debut in England, a critic compared his playing to 'the march of an abnormally active mammoth across the keyboard.'
    During a tour of America, he visited a brothel to learn the bawdy song 'Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-Dee-Ay' from the house pianist.
    As prime minister of Poland, his support quickly faded and he resigned in less than a year.
    His first wife died in childbirth.
    Actress Helena Modjeska said that in his youth he resembled 'one of Botticelli's or Fra Angelico's angels.'
    When audience members would talk during his concerts, he would stop playing and say, 'I don't want to interrupt your conversation.'
    One critic wrote, 'Before the arrival of the Beatles, probably no European performer equaled Paderewski's impact on Americans.'
    He personally persuaded President Woodrow Wilson to include Polish independence in his Fourteen Points for a postwar settlement.
    During his rule in Poland, when he was 58, he personally overwhelmed a knife-wielding would-be assassin.

Credit: C. Fishel


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