January 18, 1919 - A day like today in 1919 - Ignacy Jan Paderewski becomes Prime Minister of the newly independent Poland. Ignacy Jan Paderewski GBE (November 6, 1860 - June 29, 1941) was a Polish pianist, composer, diplomat and politician, and the third Prime Minister of Poland. He is sometimes referred to by the German version of his name Ignaz Paderewski. Ignacy Jan Paderewski was born in the village of Kurylovka (Kury?ówka) in the province of Podolia, then in the Russian Empire (now Ukraine). His father was an administrator of large estates. His mother, Poliksena (née Nowicka), died several months after Paderewski was born, and he was brought up by his distant relatives. From his early childhood, Paderewski was interested in music. Initially he took piano lessons with a private tutor. At the age of 12, in 1872, he went to Warsaw and was admitted to the Warsaw Conservatorium. After graduating in 1878, he was asked to become a tutor of piano classes at his alma mater, which he accepted. In 1880 Paderewski decided to devote himself to music, and in 1881 he went to Berlin to study music composition with Friedrich Kiel and Heinrich Urban. In 1884 he moved to Vienna, where he was a pupil of Teodor Leszetycki. It was in Vienna that he made his musical debut in 1887. He soon gained great popularity and his subsequent appearances (in Paris in 1889, and in London in 1890) were major successes. His brilliant playing created a furor which reached to almost extravagant lengths of admiration; and his triumphs were repeated in the United States in 1891. His name at once became synonymous with the highest level of piano virtuosity, and society was at his feet. (Wikipedia.org)