Chopin, Frederic
1810 - 1849
Polish composer and pianist who is regarded as one of the great masters of piano music.

Born in a small city near Warsaw, Poland. He played his first public concert at age 7, and was a published composer at 15. He toured Europe, settling in Paris in 1831. Chopin was in constant demand as a performer and teacher. He was befriended by many artists, including Hugo, Balzac, Liszt, Berlioz, Schumann, Dumas and Delacroix.

He wrote over 200 piano pieces, among them 40 mazurkas, 25 etudes, and many nocturnes, waltzes, and polonaises. Many of his solo piano pieces were influenced by authentic Polish folk music.

In 1837, Chopin met the novelist Mme. Aurore Dudevant, who used the pseudonym George Sand. The two began a mercurial and ultimately tragic relationship. By 1847, their relationship at fallen apart. Heartbroken over the loss of his beloved, Chopin continued to compose, but was soon stricken by illness, and suddenly died in 1849, at the age of only 39.