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Swiss tribute to Polish composer Paderewski  

26.05.2023 01:00
A unique concert in Switzerland on Friday will pay tribute to the legendary Polish pianist, composer and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski. 
Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Ignacy Jan PaderewskiNarodowe Archiwum Cyfrowe

The event in the Swiss town of Vevey on Lake Geneva will mark 110 years since Paderewski performed there together with French composer Camille Saint-Saëns.

During a four-day festival held in May 1913, the two gave a performance that was hailed as a historic event.

Friday’s concert will feature Polish pianist Magdalena Lisak and France's Philippe Giusiano, both of whom won prizes at the 1995 International Chopin Competition in Warsaw.

They are set to perform the same programme as Paderewski and Saint-Saëns 110 years ago, including works for two pianos and four hands.

The event is being organised by the Polish embassy in Berne and Switzerland's PATH Family Office (Suisse).

The Polish ambassador to Switzerland, Iwona Kozłowska, told the media that while Paderewski’s activities were largely focused on Polish independence, during his time in Switzerland he was involved in local affairs and charity work, "winning great respect and admiration" among Swiss society.

“The Polish embassy is trying to keep the memory of Paderewski alive by staging various cultural events,” she said.  

Saint-Saëns is said to have described Paderewski, who was 25 years his junior, as "a genius who happened to play the piano as well."

Paderewski was an honorary citizen of the Swiss towns of Vevey, Lausanne and Morges, near which he owned a residence.

The reception of Hôtel des Trois Couronnes in Vevey features a photo from a rehearsal before the 1913 Paderewski-Saint-Saëns concert.