Fryderyk Fransiszek Chopin was a Polish composer and pianist. He was born on February 22, 1810 in Zelazowa Wola near Warsaw, Poland. His father was Nicholas Chopin, a Frenchman, who tutored Countess Louisa Skarbek of Zelazowa Wola. Later on he was a French teacher at Warsaw Lyceum and a military school. His most famous pupil was Maria Walewska, a favorite mistress of Napoleon. His father instilled the thirst for knowledge into his son. His mother was Tekla Justyna Krzyanowska, a relative of Countess Skarbek.
Chopin had three sisters: Louisa, Isabel, and Emily, who died of TB at age 14.
Chopin's first piano teacher (at age 6) was Albert Zywny. His second teacher was the Director of the Polish National Opera, named Elsner (age 11). He went to the Warsaw Lyseum (age 13) and the Warsaw Conservatory (1826-1829). After his schooling in Warsaw, Chopin moved to Paris, France (age 21); where he played in many conservatories and became well regarded. He played before Tsar Alexander I, Louis Philippe, and Queen Victoria. In his career Chopin composed 50 mazurkas, 27 etudes, 25 preludes, 19 nocturnes, 13 waltzes, 12 polonaises, four ballads, 3 impromptus, 3 sonatas, two piano concertos, and a funeral march.
Chopin had an affair with his student, Countess Delphina Potocka, when he was 22, and he wrote his Piano Concerto in F Minor and the Minute Waltz to her. The only woman he proposed to was Maria, the daughter of Countess Wodzinska, but their parents dissapproved of the match.
From 1838-1847, Chopin lived with the novelist, George Sands (Aurore, Baroness Dudevant), who was a relative of the King of Poland. Aurore was six years older than him and had two sons by her previous marriage. Even though he was not a practicing Catholic, he never married Aurore because of the Catholic Church's policies against divorces.
Chopin had an affair with another student named Jane Stirling. Jane was a rich Scottish spinster.
Chopin's friends were Mendelssohn, Liszt, Delacroix, and Titus Woyciechowski.
Like his sister, Chopin had tuberculosis and took opium drops on sugar-cubes. He had rheumatism from 1842 on, and during one performance in August 28, 1848, he had to be carried on and off stage. Chopin died of TB at 12 Place Vendome, Paris at 2 a.m. on October 17, 1849. Countess Potocka was said to have been at his bedside and sang to him, at his request. His last words were reported as: "Play Mozart in memory of me." Chopin was buried near Bellini in the Pere Lachaise Cemetary in Paris, France. His heart was taken to the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw, Poland. There were 3000 mourners at his funeral. George Sands was not invited.
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