1810 - 1849
Virtuoso pianist and composer Frederic Chopin was born in Poland in February 1810. He is generally respected as one of the leading musicians of his generation and wrote almost exclusively for the piano. He was a child prodigy and composed a number of works as well as completing his musical training by the age of 20. At the age of 21, he moved to Paris and over the next 18 years, only gave 30 public performances, preferring instead the more intimate nature of salons. He survived by selling his compositions and teaching the piano, which was easy for him as he was a much sought-after teacher. He was a very good friend of fellow virtuoso pianist and composer Franz Liszt as well as being respected by many of the other composers in Paris at the time, including Robert Schumann. Although his reputation is substantial, his life was not long, dying at the age of just 39 in 1849. He had battled with poor health all his life and it is suspected that he eventually succumbed to tuberculosis. The reputation of his works for piano as almost a ‘stepping-stone ‘in process of becoming a pianist has ensured his reputation surviving in its entirety all the way through to the modern day.