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Frédéric Chopin
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Frédéric Chopin

Frédéric-François Chopin (March 1, 1810 - October 17, 1849) is widely seen as the greatest of Polish composers and among the very greatest of composers for the piano. He wrote almost exclusively for the piano. He was born as Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin, only adopting the French variant "Frédéric-François" when he left Poland for Paris at age 20, never to return. His surname is also sometimes spelt Szopen in Polish texts.

Table of contents
1 Biography
2 Music
3 List of Works
4 Eponyms
5 External links


According to the statements of the artist himself and his family he was born March 1, 1810. But according to his baptismal certificate, which was written several weeks after his birth he was born February 22, in Zelazowa Wola in central Poland near Sochaczew, in the region of Mazovia, which was part of the Duchy of Warsaw. Born to Mikolaj (Nicolas) Chopin, a Polonized Frenchmen and to his Polish mother - Tekla Justyna Krzyzanowska.

His Formative Years

The musical talent of Fryderyk became apparent extremely early on, and it was compared with the childhood genius of Mozart. Already at the age of 7, Fryderyk was the author of two polonaises (in G minor and B flat major), the first being published in the engraving workshop of Father Cybulski. The prodigy was featured in the Warsaw newspapers, and "little Chopin" became the attraction and ornament of receptions given in the aristocratic salons of the capital. He also began giving public charity concerts. His first professional piano lessons, given to him by Wojciech Zywny (b. 1756 in Bohemia), lasted from 1816 to 1822, when the teacher was no longer able to give any more help to the pupil whose skills surpassed his own.

The further development of Fryderyk's talent was supervised by Wilhelm Würfel (b.1791 in Bohemia). The renowned pianist and professor at the Warsaw Conservatory who was to offer valuable, although irregular, advice as regards playing the piano and organ. From 1823 to 1826, Fryderyk attended the Warsaw Lyceum where his father was one of the professors. In the autumn of 1826, Chopin began studying the theory of music, figured bass and composition at the Warsaw School of Music, which was both part of the Conservatory and at the same time, connected with Warsaw University headed by the composer Jozef Elsner (b. 1769 in Silesia). In 1830 he left Poland for France and lived the rest of his life in and near Paris.

Among his friends were Franz Liszt, Vincenzo Bellini (beside whom he is buried in the Père Lachaise), and Eugene Delacroix. He was also friends with composers Hector Berlioz and Robert Schumann, and, although sometimes critical of their music, dedicated some of his compositions to them.

Chopin and George Sand

Perhaps Chopin's most famous companion was the novelist George Sand, an affair that lasted for ten years until they agreed to part as Chopin's illness advanced. A notable episode in their time together was a turbulent and miserable winter on Majorca living in unheated peasant huts for much of the time. Chopin reflected much of the mood of this desperate time in the 24 Preludes, Op.28, the majority of which were written in Majorca. The weather had such a serious impact on Chopin's health (he suffered chronic lung disease) that he and George Sand were compelled to return to Paris to save his life. He survived but never recovered from this bout.

Death and Funeral

Chopin died, officially, of tuberculosis in 1849, although there is some speculation that he may have had another disease such as cystic fibrosis or emphysema due in part to autopsy findings (reported only by his sister) seemingly inconsistent with the initial diagnosis.

He had requested that Mozart's Requiem be sung at his funeral, held at the Church of the Madeleine. The Requiem has major parts for female singers but the Madeleine had never permitted female singers in its choir. The funeral was delayed for almost 2 weeks while the matter raged, the church finally relenting and granting Chopin's final wish. Although Chopin is buried in the Père Lachaise in Paris, his heart is entombed in a pillar in the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw, Poland.


Chopin's music belongs to the Romantic period of classical music. However, Chopin regarded the Romantic movement in a negative way and did not want to associate himself with it. Nowadays, Chopin's music is considered to be the paragon of the Romantic style.

All of his works, without exception, involve the piano. They are predominantly for solo piano, but there is small number of works with: a second piano; another instrument; 2 other instruments; voice; or orchestra.

List of Works

Piano solos

2 Pianos

(fill in details - may also include piano duets, 4-h at 1-p)

Piano and Orchestra



Chamber Works

In commemoration of the genius of Frédéric Chopin there is an international piano competition held in Warsaw every five years.


The following have been named after the composer:

External links