Ignacy Jan Paderewski (Polish, 1860–1941)

Paderewski was a pianist, composer and politician as spokesman for Polish independence. At the age of 12, in 1872, he was admitted to the Warsaw Conservatory. Upon graduating, he became a piano tutor. He later moved to Vienna and found notoriety for his musical mastery, becoming accepted into any European or American residence of power. 

All of his works draw upon a romantic vision of Poland, such as folk dances and allusions to the nation’s literature. In 1919, due to his heavy political involvement in Poland, he became the prime minister and signed the Treaty of Versailles to end World War I. Finding politics distasteful, he resigned shortly after and returned to music. Paderewski played Carnegie Hall and filled Madison Square Garden in the 1920s. In the late 1930s, he strongly urged aid for Poland against Nazism before he passed away and has since become a Polish national hero.