05 November 2013
Frederic Chopin was born in Zelazowa Wola, Poland on March 1, 1810. He grew up in a middle class family, and was the son of a French immigrant and a Polish mother. Young Frederic studied piano with Wojciech Zywny and studied harmony and counterpoint with Jozef Elsner. He was born with natural talent, and by the age of eight, Chopin was giving his first concert. Chopin won early fame in the relatively limited circles of his native country, before seeking his fortune abroad, in Paris. As a young musician embarking on a career as a pianist, Chopin provided himself with half a dozen works for piano and orchestra, something, for which he later found no necessity. These pieces of music included two piano concerts, a fantasia, three pieces based on Polish themes, a krakowiak, a grand polonaise, and a set of variations on a theme by Mozart, which would later make his name known outside of Poland, after being published in 1830.
In November of 1830, Chopin left Poland for Vienna, seeking to expand his horizons. After only eight months of living in Vienna, he headed for Paris and would never again return to his native country of Poland. At that time, Paris had become without a doubt, the center of European music culture and the peaking point of Romanticism in music. After an astounding debut at the Salle Pleyel on February 26, 1832, Frederic, almost twenty-two at the time, took his place as one of the celebrities of the French capital. Chopin seldom performed publicly in Paris. In later years, he would return to Salle Pleyel but only to play a single annual concert. He played more frequently at salons but preferred playing at his own apartment in Paris, for small groups of friends. His unstable health prevented him from touring the world extensively. However, that was not one of Chopin’s concerns, as he soon found himself in such demand as a teacher that he was able to earn a comfortable...