Wladyslaw Szpilman was born in 1911. He studied the piano at the Warsaw Conservatory and at the Academy of Arts in Berlin. From 1945 to 1963, he was Director of Music at Polish Radio, and he also pursued a career as a concert pianist and composer for many years. He died in Warsaw in 2000. The film version of his memoir, The Pianist, was the winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.