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Fryderyk Chopin

Fryderyk Chopin


He was born on 1 March 1810 at Żelazowa Wola and died on 17 October1849 in Paris. His father Nicolas, a Frenchman, came to Poland in the late eighties of the eighteenth century and taught French literature and the language. His mother, Justyna née Krzyżanowska was Fryderyk's first piano teacher. His playing was admired by listeners from his youngest years and he also began to try his hand at composition then. He continued his musical studies in a systematic way under Józef Elsner at the Warsaw Conservatory.

From 1828 he started giving concerts abroad, in Dresden, Prague, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich etc. enjoying great success. In 1831 he settled in Paris becoming a star of many artistic salons. The concerts, at which he presented his own compositions, made increasingly famous, so that he gained high esteem both as a pianist and composer. He formed friendships amongst the compositional elite of the time: Schumann, Liszt, Bellini, Rossini and Mendelssohn. He was also a fashionable piano teacher and many pianists, who later became outstanding virtuosi, sought lessons with him.
In 1836 Chopin met George Sand, a French woman writer, who influenced his later life to a great extent. Unfortunately from 1839 the state of Chopin's health (he suffered from consumption) deteriorated year on year. He gave his last two concerts in Paris and London in 1848. A year later Chopin died and was buried at the cemetery of Pere-Lachaise. His heart is in the Holy Cross Church in Warsaw.

Chopin was a musical genius, a highly talented composer and a matchless pianist. As a composer he synthetized bold musical ideas in the domain of harmony, melody, texture and timbre with the simplicity of folk motifs and so elevated raised the piano to the status of a major instrument. His mastery of form, and the melodic and harmonic wealth of his music became an unattainable model for many composers. Chopin's creative output established new ways of development for music and has been a source of inspiration for many succeeding composers.