Chopin was Born near Warsaw in 1810.
He was the son of a French
emigrant and a Polish mother.
Chopin became famous despite
the limited circles of his native country, before seeking his fortune abroad, in Paris.
His departure from Warsaw coincided with the unsuccessful national rising against Russian domination.
Chopin found himself in Paris with of a number of other Polish exiles.
He was able to establish himself as a pianist and as a teacher of the piano, especially in fashionable society.
For ten years Chopin enjoyed a liaison with the writer George Sand, but broke with her during the last years of his life, followed by the tuberculosis from which he had suffered a long time.
His compositions, mostly for the piano, make a remarkable use of the newly developed instrument, exploring its poetic possibilities while generally avoiding the more obvious ostentation of the Paris school of performers.
As a musician embarking on a career as a pianist, Chopin provided himself with half a dozen works for piano and orchestra.
These include two piano concertos, three works based on Polish themes, a Fantasia, a Krakowiak and a Grand polonaise, and a set of variations on a theme by
Chopin wrote an Introduction and Polonaise for cello and piano for an early patron and towards the end of his life a Cello Sonata. His G minor Piano Trio is a valuable addition to recital repertoire.
Chopin created a number of new forms for piano music.
Also vehicles for his own poetic use of the instrument, with its exploration of nuance, its original harmonies and its discreet and technical demands.
He used the form of the Waltz of which the 'Minute Waltz' is probably the most well known.
The Polish dance, the Polonaise, elevated from village to ball-room, provided the basis of another characteristic form, in sixteen such works, written between 1817, when Chopin was seven, and 1846.
The best known, among the familiar works, are the Polonaise in A major, Opus 40 No. 1, the Polonaise in A flat, Opus 53, and the Polonaise- Fantaisie, Opus 61.
Other Polish dances used by Chopin include the 62 Mazurkas.
The four Ballades are based on patriotic poems by Chopin's friend Mickiewicz.
The 21 Nocturnes continue an form initiated by the Irish pianist John Field.
Chopin wrote 26 Preludes, 24 of them completed during a period in which he dealt with illness during the winter with George Sand in Mallorca.
Also 27 Studies, of which the Revolutionary Study is perhaps the best known.
Other compositions include four Scherzos, expansions of the earlier form into a more extended virtuoso piece, three Sonatas, a Berceuse, a Barcarolle, four Impromptus and a number of other works.
All of the work of Chopin's hand is one of the greatest technical importance.
Melodies often of operatic inspiration and harmonies of originality.