Paderewski in Breslau

Edward Burne-Jones, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, 1892

Paderewski in Breslau


„Music alone is truly a living art. Its elements, its vibrations, its dynamics are all elements of life. Hushed yet audible, tremendous yet unrecognised it is everywhere where life is”.

Quote from a speech made by Ignacy J. Paderewski during the Chopin festivities on 23 October 1910 in Lviv.


Ignacy J. Paderewski (1860 – 1941) is a “Pole with a unique status”[1], a world-famous pianist, composer, statesmen and social activist. In every respect he is an extraordinary personality even though he has now somewhat fallen into oblivion.[2]

One music critic from Paris described him as the “Prince of pianists”. But there has never been a Prince, not even a ruling Prince, who has enjoyed such great popularity as the composer of “Manru” did every single day of his life at the height of his career.”[3]

In a recent television programme the musician and composer Krzesimir Dębski recently recalled that Paderewski had been a social phenomenon in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century and compared him to contemporary superstars in pop music like Michael Jackson![4]

In 1890 Ignacy J. Paderewski followed up his first appearances in Vienna with a successful recital in Paris where his interpretations of Chopin were received with huge enthusiasm. In a letter to his wife, Wojciech Kossak recalled one of the artist’s recitals in Paris in the following words: “Today I went to a concert on St Casimir’s Day. Paderewski played like an angel; the whole of Polish ‘high life’ was there […]”[5]. This comment wonderfully reflects the appeal of the pianist who simultaneously transformed himself into an “angel” with his interpretations. This “angel” gave a metaphysical dimension to his tonal art and whisked his audiences into an invisible transcendental world.” “(…) People were spellbound by an ecstatic impression, as if they had entered into an immaterial bond with ART, a communion with celestial beauty”. [6] Furthermore Paderewski’s piano style was the quintessence of the Polish spirit, not only superficially as expressed in the dancing élan of polonaises and mazurkas but also in the true sense of the Polish nation as it was deeply felt and experienced. For even when he spent the majority of his life abroad Paderewski always considered himself to be Pole, a fact that he often underlined and of which he was very proud.


[1] In the Paderewski year, 2001, the Ignacy Jan Paderewski Museum of Polish Emigration - a department of the National Museum in Warsaw [Muzeum Ignacego J. Paderewskiego i Wychodźstwa Polskiego – Oddział Muzeum Narodowego w Warszawie] organised an exhibition entitled "Paderewski Year” and published an accompanying booklet "Polak miary niepospolitej. Ignacemu Janowi Paderewskiemu w 140.rocznicę urodzin” [A Pole of exceptional greatness. On the 140th birthday of Ignacy Jan Paderewski].

[2] In 2001 in Wrocław the Ignacy Paderewski Foundation for the Rebuilding of Democracy [Fundacja Odbudowy Demokracji im. Ignacego Paderewskiego] recalled Paderewski on the occasion of an exhibition dedicated to him and presented in the Breslau City Hall.

cf.: C. Kaszewski, Fortepian i polityka, [in:] „Słowo Polskie”  2.-3.05. 2001, p.14.

[3] A. Grzymała-Siedlecki, Fundator Pomnika Grunwaldzkiego [an article on the artistic and private life of Jan Paderewski], [in]: Ignacy Jan Paderewski – artysta, społecznik, polityk – w opiniach jemu współczesnych. Antologia tekstów historycznych i literackich dla uczczenia 150. rocznicy urodzin wielkiego Polaka, edited by M. M. Drozdowski and X. Pilch- Nowakowska, Warszawa 2012, vol. 2 , p. 381.

[4] „Magazyn kulturalny - drugie śniadanie mistrzów”, broadcast by TVN24 on the 11.05.2013.

[5] W. Kossak, Listy do żony i przyjaciół ( 1883 – 1942), edited by K. Olszański, Kraków, Wrocław 1985, vol. I , p. 176.

[6] J. Waldorff, Wygrał Polskę na fortepianie, [in:] Ignacy Jan Paderewski – artysta, społecznik, polityk- w opiniach jemu współczesnych. Antologia tekstów historycznych i literackich dla uczczenia 150. rocznicy urodzin wielkiego Polaka, edited by M. M. Drozdowski and X. Pilch-Nowakowska, Warszawa 2012, vol. 1, p. 294.

Mediathek Sorted

  • Porträt von Alma-Tadema

    Lawrence Alma- Tadema, Porträt des Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Öl auf Leinwand, 1891
  • Album de Mai

    Titelseite von: Album de Mai. Scenes romantiques pour piano
  • Variations et Fugue

    Titelseite von: Variations et Fugue sur un thème original pour piano
  • Konzert in Breslau am 6.2.1891

    Das Programm zum Konzert von Ignacy Jan Paderewski in Breslau am 6. Februar 1891 in der Neuen Börse.
  • Włodzimierz Błocki, Porträt von Ignacy Jan Paderewski

    Porträt von Włodzimierz Błocki

    Włodzimierz Błocki, Porträt von Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Pastell, Aquarelle, Guasch auf Karton, 1912
  • Paderewski ca. 1900

    Ignacy Jan Paderewski, Foto, New York, ca. 1900
  • Portrait von Ignacy Jan Paderewski (Verfasser unbekannt)

    Porträt von Unbekannt

    Portrait von Ignacy Jan Paderewski (Verfasser unbekannt), Öl auf Leinwand, ca. 1915
  • Neue Börse heute

    Neue Börse heute

    Ein zeitgenössisches Foto der ehemaligen Breslauer Neuen Börse in heutigem Wrocław, 2016
  • Stern in Hollywood

    Paderewskis Stern am Hollywood Walk of Fame.