Now in its fourth year, the International Ignacy Jan Paderewski Festival will feature piano and vocal recitals by musicians from France, Spain, Italy, Ukraine and the United States, in addition to artists from Poland.
Festival highlights include all of Paderewski’s orchestral works, including his Concert Overture, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Polish Fantasy, and Suite for Strings in G major.
Concerts will be held in a host of venues around the Polish capital, including the National Philharmonic, the Royal Łazienki Park, the Royal Castle, the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music and the Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of Polish Radio.
Fringe events include exhibitions, film screenings and panel discussions focusing on various aspects of Paderewski’s legacy.
"We want to bring back to Warsaw and Poland this outstanding man whose work as an artist, diplomat as well as an altruist is little known, but to whom we owe a lot and who we can look up to as a role model for work and patriotism," said the festival originator and director Wiesław Dąbrowski.
The festival runs until November 11, Polish Independence Day, when the Polish Radio Orchestra will perform Paderewski's Symphony in B minor, a monumental work with a strong patriotic flavour that is also known as Polonia.
Musician and politician
Ignacy Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) was an internationally renowned pianist and composer as well as a prominent statesman who helped Poland regain independence in 1918 after 123 years of foreign rule.
Hailed by his contemporaries as the greatest pianist since Franz Liszt, Paderewski achieved the peak of his triumphant career at the end of the 19th century, when his fame spread worldwide, except for Asia, and his financial success reached phenomenal dimensions.
During World War I, Paderewski supported Poland’s efforts to win independence. In 1919, as prime minister and foreign affairs minister, he co-chaired (with politician Roman Dmowski) the Polish delegation to the Peace Conference in Paris and signed the Treaty of Versailles.
Paderewski died in the United States in 1941 and -- following a decision by President Franklin D. Roosevelt -- was buried at Arlington Military Cemetery in Washington. In 1992, his remains were brought to Poland and buried at St. John’s Cathedral in Warsaw.