The fabled "poet of the piano," classical music genius Frédéric François Chopin (1810-1849) was born in Zelazowa Wola, a small village near Warsaw, Poland. His father was French, his mother Polish. He learned to play the piano at age six and began performing within two years.
With passion, Chopin devoted his life to the piano, creating music "with hidden meaning" and beauty. With a poet's heart, he composed with great originality and played with expressive grace.
"One needs only to study a certain positioning of the hand in relation to the keys to obtain with ease the most beautiful sounds, to know how to play long notes and short notes and to (gain) certain unlimited dexterity," he once explained.
In 1826, Chopin enrolled in Warsaw University and further learned how to compose in his distinctly individualistic style. With his country at war with Russia, he moved to Paris and immersed himself in the era's Romantic style. With great love for his homeland, his exquisite melodies celebrated Polish folk music.
"Time is still the best critic, and patience the best teacher," said Chopin, who had a nine-year relationship with the French novelist George Sand who was a nurse and muse for the frail pianist. Chopin died of tuberculosis at age 39.
"Beethoven embraced the universe with the power of his spirit," Chopin wrote. "I do not climb so high. A long time ago I decided that my universe will be the soul and heart of man."
All the loveliest things come simply.