Frédéric Chopin
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1810-02-22
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Frédéric Chopin

Frédéric Chopin Biography (BBC)

Chopin’s father was a Frenchman who went to Poland, where he earned his living as a teacher and married a Polish woman. Their only son, Fryderyk (or Frédéric), was a child prodigy whose playing was in demand among the aristocracy of Warsaw. He had a Polonaise published when he was aged only 7. He played for the unpopular Grand Duke Constantin at the age of 10, and the Tsar when he was 15. (In the post Napoleonic era Poland was part of the Russian empire.) Chopin entered the Warsaw Conservatory the following year and took Józef Elsner’s three-year course in harmony, counterpoint and composition.

Chopin’s first piano teacher, Adalbert Zywny, had already introduced him to the music of Bach and the Viennese classics. As a pianist, however, Chopin is considered to have been self-taught: he doesn’t seem to have needed to practise very much. His more extended early works were decorative and brilliant, in the line of display pieces by touring virtuosos like Hummel.

After giving two big concerts in Warsaw at which he introduced his two piano concertos, Chopin left for Vienna in November 1830, staying eight months, during which he learnt of the Warsaw Uprising. He never saw Poland again. He made his way to Paris, where he soon felt at home, since there were many Polish émigrés in the French capital.

Although he made his French debut in the Salle Pleyel, Chopin disliked the publicity and pressure of large concerts, preferring small gatherings in society apartments, where the subtlety of his touch could be better appreciated. Because of his popularity, he found he could make a handsome living from teaching: not only rich young ladies, but also talented students who became professionals. His music sold well, and from 1833 it was published simultaneously in England, France and Germany.

Chopin wrote Nocturnes and shorter pieces in dance forms, such as Mazurkas, Waltzes and Polonaises, throughout his career. He found his mature style early, with the first set of Études, Op. 10 (1829–32). These are still, with their sequel, the Op. 25 set, the cornerstone of modern piano technique, as well as powerfully poetic pieces.

Chopin started a relationship with the novelist George Sand in 1838, composing some of his Préludes, Op. 28, during a winter spent with her in Majorca, where bad weather exacerbated his tuberculosis. From 1839 to 1845 he spent winters in Paris and summers at Sand’s country house at Nohant, writing the Third and Fourth Scherzos, the last two Ballades, the Fantasy in F minor and the Sonata No. 3 in B minor.

The liaison with Sand broke up in 1847, complicated by battles with her two children. The following year, revolution broke out in Paris. An escape of sorts was offered by Chopin’s rich Scottish pupil Jane Stirling, who invited him to England and Scotland, though by now he was seriously ill. He died less than a year after his return to Paris.

Profile © Adrian Jack

Frédéric Chopin Biography (Wikipedia)

Frédéric François Chopin (1 March 1810 – 17 October 1849) was a Polish composer and virtuoso pianist of the Romantic era who wrote primarily for solo piano. He has maintained worldwide renown as a leading musician of his era, one whose "poetic genius was based on a professional technique that was without equal in his generation."

Chopin was born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin in the Duchy of Warsaw and grew up in Warsaw, which in 1815 became part of Congress Poland. A child prodigy, he completed his musical education and composed his earlier works in Warsaw before leaving Poland at the age of 20, less than a month before the outbreak of the November 1830 Uprising. At 21, he settled in Paris. Thereafter—in the last 18 years of his life—he gave only 30 public performances, preferring the more intimate atmosphere of the salon. He supported himself by selling his compositions and by giving piano lessons, for which he was in high demand. Chopin formed a friendship with Franz Liszt and was admired by many of his other musical contemporaries (including Robert Schumann). In 1835, Chopin obtained French citizenship. After a failed engagement to Maria Wodzińska from 1836 to 1837, he maintained an often troubled relationship with the French writer Amantine Dupin (known by her pen name, George Sand). A brief and unhappy visit to Majorca with Sand in 1838–39 would prove one of his most productive periods of composition. In his final years, he was supported financially by his admirer Jane Stirling, who also arranged for him to visit Scotland in 1848. For most of his life, Chopin was in poor health. He died in Paris in 1849 at the age of 39, probably of pericarditis aggravated by tuberculosis.

This entry is from Wikipedia, the user-contributed encyclopedia. It may not have been reviewed by professional editors and is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. If you find the biography content factually incorrect or highly offensive you can edit this article at Wikipedia. Find out more about our use of this data.

Frédéric Chopin Performances & Interviews


Frédéric Chopin Tracks

Frédéric Chopin
Three Mazurkas, Op 59
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Three Mazurkas, Op 59

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Frédéric Chopin
Scherzo in C sharp minor, Op 39 No 3
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Scherzo in C sharp minor, Op 39 No 3
Frédéric Chopin
Nocturne in C sharp minor, Op 27 No 1
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Nocturne in C sharp minor, Op 27 No 1
Frédéric Chopin
2 Nocturnes for piano Op.62
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2 Nocturnes for piano Op.62
Frédéric Chopin
Ballade in G minor, Op 23 No 1
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Ballade in G minor, Op 23 No 1
Frédéric Chopin
4 Mazurkas for piano (Op.6), no.3 in E major
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4 Mazurkas for piano (Op.6), no.3 in E major
Frédéric Chopin
Nocturne In B Flat Minor, Op. 9, No. 1
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Nocturne In B Flat Minor, Op. 9, No. 1
Frédéric Chopin
Study in E major, Op 10 No 3
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Study in E major, Op 10 No 3
Frédéric Chopin
Waltz in D flat, Op. 64 No.1, 'Minute'
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Waltz in D flat, Op. 64 No.1, 'Minute'
Frédéric Chopin
24 Preludes Op 28 for piano: Nos 21-24
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24 Preludes Op 28 for piano: Nos 21-24
Frédéric Chopin
Waltz in C sharp minor, Op 64 No 2
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Waltz in C sharp minor, Op 64 No 2
Frédéric Chopin
Scherzo no. 1 in B minor Op.20
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Scherzo no. 1 in B minor Op.20
Frédéric Chopin
Polonaise in A flat major, Op 53, 'Eroica'
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Polonaise in A flat major, Op 53, 'Eroica'
Frédéric Chopin
Piano Concerto No 1 in E minor, Op 11 (2nd mvt)
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Piano Concerto No 1 in E minor, Op 11 (2nd mvt)
Frédéric Chopin
24 Preludes Op 28 - No 24 in D minor
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24 Preludes Op 28 - No 24 in D minor
Frédéric Chopin
Concerto no. 2 in F minor Op.21
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Concerto no. 2 in F minor Op.21
Frédéric Chopin
Polonaise in A major, Op 40 No 1, 'Military'
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Polonaise in A major, Op 40 No 1, 'Military'
Frédéric Chopin
Nocturne in C minor, Op 48, No 1
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Nocturne in C minor, Op 48, No 1
Frédéric Chopin
Three Polonaises
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Three Polonaises
Frédéric Chopin
Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58 scherzo
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Piano Sonata No. 3 in B minor, Op. 58 scherzo
Frédéric Chopin
Barcarolle in F sharp major Op 60
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Barcarolle in F sharp major Op 60
Frédéric Chopin
Scherzo No 2 in B flat minor, Op 31
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Scherzo No 2 in B flat minor, Op 31
Frédéric Chopin
Prelude in B major, Op 28 No 11
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Prelude in B major, Op 28 No 11
Frédéric Chopin
Ballade in F major, Op 38
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Ballade in F major, Op 38
Frédéric Chopin
Nocturne in C minor, Op 48 no 1
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Nocturne in C minor, Op 48 no 1
Frédéric Chopin
Écossaise in D major, Op 72 No 3
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Écossaise in D major, Op 72 No 3
Frédéric Chopin
Ballade no.1 in G minor, Op.23
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Ballade no.1 in G minor, Op.23
Frédéric Chopin
Preludes Op. 28, No. 7
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Preludes Op. 28, No. 7
Frédéric Chopin
Ballade in F minor, Op 52 No 4
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Ballade in F minor, Op 52 No 4
Frédéric Chopin
Piano Concerto no.1 in E minor Op.11
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Piano Concerto no.1 in E minor Op.11
Frédéric Chopin
Etude Op.25 No.5 in E minor
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Etude Op.25 No.5 in E minor
Frédéric Chopin
Nocturne in F minor, Op.55/2
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Nocturne in F minor, Op.55/2
Frédéric Chopin
Nocturne in F minor, Op.55/1
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Nocturne in F minor, Op.55/1
Frédéric Chopin
Prelude in D flat major, Op 28 No 15, 'Raindrop'
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Prelude in D flat major, Op 28 No 15, 'Raindrop'
Frédéric Chopin
Waltz in A minor, Op 34, No 2
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Waltz in A minor, Op 34, No 2
Frédéric Chopin
Waltz in A flat major, Op.34 no.1
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Waltz in A flat major, Op.34 no.1
Frédéric Chopin
Fantaisie-impromptu in C sharp minor, Op.66
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Fantaisie-impromptu in C sharp minor, Op.66
Frédéric Chopin
Scherzo No 3 in C sharp minor Op 39
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Scherzo No 3 in C sharp minor Op 39
Frédéric Chopin
Fantaisie-impromptu in C sharp minor Op 66
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Fantaisie-impromptu in C sharp minor Op 66
Frédéric Chopin
Grande valse brillante, Op 18
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Grande valse brillante, Op 18
Frédéric Chopin
Nocturne No 3 in B major
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Nocturne No 3 in B major
Frédéric Chopin
Piano Concerto no 2 in F minor
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Piano Concerto no 2 in F minor
Frédéric Chopin
24 Preludes for piano (Op.28)
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24 Preludes for piano (Op.28)
Frédéric Chopin
Study in E major, Op 10 No 3
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Study in E major, Op 10 No 3
Frédéric Chopin
Piano sonata no 2 in B flat minor, Op 35 'Marche funebre'
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Piano sonata no 2 in B flat minor, Op 35 'Marche funebre'
Frédéric Chopin
Rondo à la Mazur in F major Op 5
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Rondo à la Mazur in F major Op 5
Frédéric Chopin
Study in F major, Op 10 No 8
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Study in F major, Op 10 No 8
Frédéric Chopin
Prelude in F sharp major, Op.28 no.13
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Prelude in F sharp major, Op.28 no.13
Frédéric Chopin
Polonaise in C sharp minor Op.26 No.1
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Polonaise in C sharp minor Op.26 No.1
Frédéric Chopin
Waltz No.6 in D flat, Op.64 No. 1
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Waltz No.6 in D flat, Op.64 No. 1
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