March 1, 1810, Żelazowa Wola, Warsaw – October 17, 1849
Frédéric François Chopin was a Polish French composer and pianist of the Romantic period, best known for his solo pieces for piano and his piano concerti. Although he wrote little but piano works, many of them brief, Chopin ranks as one of music’s greatest tone poets by reason of his superfine imagination and fastidious craftsmanship.
All his family had artistic leanings, and even in infancy Chopin was always strangely moved when listening to his mother or eldest sister playing the piano. By age six he was already trying to reproduce what he heard or to make up new tunes. The following year he started piano lessons with the 61-year-old Wojciech Zywny, an all-around musician with an astute sense of values, but Zywny’s simple instruction in piano playing was soon left behind by his pupil, who discovered for himself an original approach to the piano and was allowed to develop unhindered by academic rules and formal discipline.
As a pianist, Chopin was unique in acquiring a reputation of the highest order on the basis of a minimum of public appearances – few more than 30 in the course of his lifetime. His original and sensitive approach to the keyboard allowed him to exploit all the resources of the piano of his day. He was inexhaustible in discovering colorful new passage work and technical figures; he understood as no one before him the true nature of the piano as an expressive instrument, and he was able to write music that is bound up with the instrument for which it was conceived and which cannot be imagined apart from it. His innovations in fingering, his use of the pedals, and his general treatment of the keyboard form a milestone in the history of the piano, and his works set a standard for the instrument that is recognized as unsurpassable.
Frédéric Chopin Complete Ballades Piano Tzvi Erez