Ignace Jane Paderewski, the famous composer-pianist, was scheduled to perform at a great concert hall in America. It was an evening to remember — black tuxedos and long evening dresses, a high-society extravaganza. Present in the audience that evening was a mother with her fidgety nine-year old son. Weary of waiting, he squirmed constantly in his seat. His mother was in hopes that her son would be encouraged to practice the piano if he could just hear the immortal Paderewski at the keyboard. So, against his wishes, he had come.
“Who’d bring a kid that young in here?“
“Where’s his mother?”
“Somebody stop him!”
Ignacy Jan Paderewski was born in Kurylowka, in an area annexed by Russia following the partition of Poland (presently in the Ukraine). He became one of the great piano virtuosos of his era, a composer, and a tireless political activist campaigning for Poland’s independence, a philanthropist and a statesman with international impact.