Frederic Francois Chopin

Frederic Francois Chopin was born in Zelazowa-Wola, near Warsaw, March 1, 1809.

His father was a Frenchman, his mother a Pole. The genius of Chopin showed itself early, his first public performance being given when he was but nine years of age. His earliest compositions were dances, mazurkas, and waltzes. At nineteen, a finished virtuoso, with his two concertos and some minor pieces in his pocket, he started for Paris, where he settled and remained for the greater part of his life.

In his early years he was vivacious, ready for fun or frolic, but his later life was saddened by an unfortunate episode. In 1837 he began a liaison with George Sand (Mme Dudevant), who for a time reciprocated his affections; but after ten years of romantic connection the friendship was broken. In the latter part of his life he was a victim to consumption, which caused his death.

Chopin was essentially a pianoforte genius, and he is credited with freeing the piano from orchestral traditions and endowing it with its own distinctive style of composition. Rubinstein called him the piano’s soul. His works, eighty-six in number, represent an immense amount of care and labor. They include, besides mazurkas and waltzes, concertos, rondos, nocturnes, polonaises, etudes, and other forms of composition, are wonderfully original and finished, and remain a possession of rare musical value.

He died in Paris, October 17, 1848.