2017 Events

              The Fourth Annual Paderewski Festival of Raleigh will take place in November 2017.  The Festival honors Ignacy Jan Paderewski, the internationally acclaimed Polish pianist, who played in Raleigh four times and had personal friends here.  The Fourth Festival features four performances by noted European and American pianists. All have been winners in notable competitions.  They represent a wide range in geography and stage of career.


November 4: Saint Mary’s School, Smedes Parlor, 3:00pm

Micah McLaurin - USA –                                                


November 5: N.C. Museum of Art, Auditorium, 3:00pm

Elizaveta Ivanova -Russia –                  




November 11: N.C. Museum of Art, Auditorium, 3:00pm

Frédéric Vaysse-Knitter – France      




November 12: N.C. Museum of Art, Auditorium, 3:00pm

Kamil Pacholec, Poland –



               November 11, 1918, was not only the date of the Armistice ending World War I, but also the date of the official re-establishment of the Republic of Poland. Ignacy Jan Paderewski had for years worked tirelessly for this reconstitution.  We are approaching the 100th anniversary of that event, to be observed by our planned Fifth Annual Paderewski Festival in November 2018.  This year, 2017, our third performance will take place on the 99th anniversary of that famous Armistice.

              The City of Raleigh first heard Paderewski on January 23, 1917. The famous pianist appeared at the Raleigh Municipal Auditorium, heralded by several days of enthusiastic build-up by The News and Observer and the local sponsor, the then newly founded Rotary Club of Raleigh.  Tickets were sold out of the Boylan-Pearce Store on Fayetteville Street, and extra trains were laid on to bring excited listeners in from a radius of 100 miles.

              The actual performance was rendered the more historic by President Woodrow Wilson’s speech the day before–January 22, 1917–laying out the general aims of the United States if it were to enter the Great War.  That entrance became fact some ten weeks later, on April 6, 1917.  One of those aims, first enunciated in that speech, was the re-establishment of a Polish state; the original Polish state had disappeared from the map of Europe in 1795.  This statement, anticipating by almost exactly one year the more famous Fourteen Points, marked the first public declaration by an Allied–or potential Allied–statesman.

              President Woodrow Wilson had requested a memorandum from Paderewski to support his  speech of January 22, 1917.  His chief adviser, Colonel House, had contacted Paderewski on January 10. After his concert that evening, Paderewski worked through the night and the next day to produce this remarkable document.  One of the secretaries who worked on the production of the final submission was Mary Lee Swann (later McMillan), secretary to Paderewski’s wife, Helena.  After her marriage, Mary Lee McMillan moved to Cameron Park in Raleigh, where she fostered a family still prominent in legal circles of this city.

              The need for Wilson’s speech had been made more urgent by the German and Austro-Hungarian declaration of November 5, 1916, of a potential Polish state. The Allies had to make a bid of their own.  The first concert of the Third Annual Paderewski Festival took place last year on the 100th anniversary of this consequential, if insincere, declaration by the Central Powers. The second concert last year took place in the Daniels Auditorium of the North Carolina Museum of History, an auditorium named for the family of Josephus Daniels, who as Secretary of the Navy to Wilson became a fast friend of Paderewski’s.

           Join us this year, 2017, for our Fourth Festival, and stay with us for years to come as we celebrate the closing years of The Great War, the signing of the peace treaties at Versailles and Saint Germain, and the renewal of the sovereign Polish state.

 You are invited to visit the website of the Festival: