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        Frédéric Chopin

The most famous Polish composer. His compositions are well known all over the world.


Frédéric Chopin



Frédéric François Chopin, the most famous Polish composer, was born on 1 March 1810 (according to the statements of  his family, but according to his baptismal certificate on 22 February 1810) in Żelazowa Wola. Several months later the family moved to Warsaw where his father was offered the post of French teacher in the Warsaw Lyceum.

From the early childhood the musical talent of Frédéric became visible, he was compared to another child genius Mozart. By the age of 7 Frédéric had composed two polonaises.

From 1823 to 1826 Frederic attended the Warsaw Lyceum. During his summer holidays he visited various parts of the country. He used to listen to and write down the texts of folk songs, he took part in peasant weddings, danced, played folk instruments. The folk music was his inspiration till the end of his life.

In 1826 Frédéric Chopin began studies in the Warsaw School of Music. His head was Jozef Elsner (he wrote in a report: "Chopin, Frédéric, third year student, amazing talent, musical genius").  During that time he composed the Sonata in C minor op. 2 on a theme from Don Juan by Mozart, the Rondo à la Krakowiak, op. 14, the Fantaisie, op. 13 and the Trio in G minor, op. 8 for piano, violin and cello. He completed his studies in 1829.

In 1829 Chopin went to Vienna where he gave two performances in the Kärtnertortheater. The publisher Tobias Haslinger printed the Variations on a theme from Mozart (1830) and this was the first publication of Chopin composition abroad.

When he returned to Warsaw he was writing and composing. He gave a number of public performances, mainly in National Theatre in Warsaw. On 11 October 1830 he gave farewell concert in Warsaw and went back to Vienna. Several days after his departure the Russo-Polish war began and he stayed in Vienna for eight months. Dramatic personal experiences inspired creativity of the composer and his new works were full of passion and energy, more forceful than previous compositions.

In autumn 1831 Chopin arrived to Paris. He made close contacts with Great Emigration and became a member of Polish Literary Society. He gave charity concerts. Chopin became famous and in 1832 he signed a contract with the leading Parisian publishing company of Schlesinger. At the same time he became famous as a teacher among Polish and French aristocracy.

In 1837 Chopin entered into a close relationship with George Sand, famous French writer. They spent the winter of 1838/39 on Majorca where Chopin became gravely ill. He continued to work and composed a series of 24 preludes, the Polonaise in C minor, the Ballade in F major, and the Scherzo in C sharp minor. Then Chopin moved to Nahant and stayed there with short exceptions until 1846. It was a very productive period, most outstanding works were composed then.

After parting with George Sand in 1847 his health was becoming constantly worse. On 16 November 1848 he gave his last concert in London. On 17 October 1849 Frédéric Chopin died in Paris. He was burried in Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris but his heart, in accordance with his will was brought to Warsaw and installed in a pillar of the Holy Cross Church at Krakowskie Przedmieście St.