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About Chopin

Chopin's birthplace at Żelazowa Wola

Fryderyk Chopin was born in the village of Żelazowa Wola, in the Duchy of Warsaw, to Polish mother Justyna Krzyzanowska and Mikolaj Chopin, French-expatriate father, and in his early life was regarded as a child-prodigy pianist.

In November 1830, at the age of 20, he went abroad; following the suppression of the Polish November Uprising against tsar Russia occupiers of 1830–31, he became one of many expatriates of the Polish "Great Emigration".

Young Chopin
Young Szopen
click the picture to enlarge

In Paris, Chopin made a comfortable living as a composer and piano teacher, while giving few public performances.

Though an ardent Polish patriot, in France he used the French versions of his names and eventually, to avoid having to rely on Imperial Russian documents, became a French citizen.

Fryderic Chopin and George Sand in Paris
Fryderic Chopin and George Sand in Paris
painted by his friend Eugène Delacroix
click the picture to enlarge

After some ill-fated romantic involvements with Polish Countess Maria Wodzinska , from 1837 to 1847 he had a turbulent relationship with the French writer George Sand (Aurore Dudevant).

Always in frail health, in 1849 he died in Paris, at the age of 39, of chronic pulmonary tuberculosis. When he realized he was terminally ill, he expressed a wish to be buried at Pere Lachaise cemetery, next to his friend, Vincenzo Bellini, an opera composer. He also made an explicit wish that his heart be brought back to Warsaw, Poland.

More about Chopin....

When Chopin's father secured a position of a teacher and later a professor of French at Warsaw University, the family moved to Warsaw. Chopin was a few months old at the time.

When Fryderyk was six years old, he exhibited an extraordinary musical talent, and his education was entrusted to Wojciech Zywny, a highly respected piano teacher who let his talent develop. When he was eight years old he had his first public performance in the Radziwill residence currently, Presidential Palace .During Chopin's youth, he was invited to perform in front of the most prominent Polish aristocratic families: the Radziwill, the Sapiecha, and the Potocki,Poniatowsku  families. He also performed for the Duke of Russia, Constantine, the Commander of Polish Army on behalf of the Russian Tsar .

During his school years, Chopin often went to the countryside to listen the Polish folk songs and dance music which later materialized in his mazurkas, etudes and polonaises. He continued his education at the Warsaw University under the supervision of a famous piano professor, Jozef Elsner. At this time he composed a great deal of his work. In 1829 he went to Vienna where he played in front of a demanding European audience. He made a tremendous impression and was proclaimed, not for the first time, a musical genius.

While back in Warsaw, he fell in love with a young singer, Konstancja Gladkowska, which resulted in several notable compositions such as Larghetto, concerto f-minor, nocturnes op 9 etudes As-minor and famous song The Wish.

Just before the beginning of the November Uprising, he traveled to Vienna for the second time and  never to return to Warsaw again. In the letter to his friend he cursed the moment he left Poland, "If I could I would be back in an instance...." The same year he went to Paris, and France became his second motherland.

Soon he developed a reputation as a great pianist and composer and became friends with the greatest musicians and artists of the time: Schumann, Mendelsshon, Berlioze, Rossini, Hiller, Delacroix, and Liszt.

When he met the Rothschild family and their circle of acquaintances, he entered the world of wealth and influence, and his financial fortune turned around. He stayed in Paris where he could focus on composing while making a living giving piano lessons. He maintained close relations with a huge wave of Polish Émigrés: Mickiewicz, Slowacki, Lelewell, Niemcewicz, Czartoryski, and countless military men, participants of the uprising who escaped the Russion Tsar persecution .cnd

Chopin's family apartment in Warsaw
family apartment
in Warsaw University
Chopin grave on Pere Lachaise - Paris
Chopin grave
on Pere Lachaise
cemetery in Paris
The heart of Chopin-Holy Cross
The heart of Chopin
in Holy Cross
Holly Cross Church in Warsaw
Holly Cross
Church in Warsaw
Fryderyk Chopin Society
Fryderyk Chopin Society
in Warsaw, Tamka St.
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