Ignacy Paderewski was a dean of pianists and a founder of the Polish government that was created at the end of World War I.
Born Nov. 6, 1860, in what was then Russian Poland, he became renowned as a pianist shortly after the turn of the 20th century.
By 1910 there was hardly a virtuoso on the international concert stage whose name equaled his.
When World War I began, he took up the cause of Poland and worked feverishly to interest the Allies in restoring it as a country.
The Allied victory brought restoration, and Paderewski became prime minister of the new state.
In 1921, however, he clashed with Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, president of the new Poland, and left the country and politics. He settled down for a long series of concert tours throughout the world and became recognized as the greatest pianist of his time.
Paderewski made 11 tours of the United States and his popularity in this country was immense. He played the piano for more than 60 years before millions of listeners and earned more than $10 million.
He started studying piano at age 7 and perfected his technique under some of the great Russian and German masters. He became a teacher in the Warsaw Conservatory when he was 18.