Ignacy Jan Paderewski (November 18, 1860 [November 6 O.S.] – June 29, 1941) was a brilliant Polish pianist who was known world-wide during his lifetime. He was also a composer of pieces for piano and the opera Manru, which was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. His last major composition was his 1909 Symphony in B minor, a long and complex work based on Polish themes.
During World War I, Paderewski became engaged in many organizations related to Polish relief and political status. When his nation achieved independence in 1919, he became the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and represented Poland at the Paris Peace Conference. In the summer of that year, he signed the Treaty of Versailles, which restored the territories of Greater Poland and Pomerania. At the end of 1919, he became the Polish ambassador to the League of Nations.
In 1922 he returned to his musical career, although he always remained involved in Polish political affairs. He and his wife spent a great deal of time in the United States, and when he died in 1941, his possessions went to the Polish Museum of America in Chicago.
The June 1908 issue of The Theosophical Messenger included this note about Paderewski:
When Jean Paderewski was last in Chicago it was noticed that the library in his private car contained a number of books on Theosophy. It certainly would be interesting to think that his supreme art in mastering the piano could be called "The Theosophical interpretation of music."
- "Items of Interest," The Theosophical Messenger (June, 1908), 198.