Frederic Chopin was one of the greats of classical music and made his reputation with his compositions for the piano. He was born on the 1st March 1810 near Warsaw in Poland. By the time he was six, he was already composing pieces for the piano. His official musical training began when he was seven and he made his first public performance when he was eight. At eleven, he played in front of Tsar Alexander I and at sixteen, entered the Warsaw Conservatory of Music.
In 1830, Poland revolted against the rule of Russia and Chopin left for Paris where he was soon mixing with other notable composers such as Liszt, Berlioz, Bellini and Mendelssohn. During this period he was supported by the Rothschild family which also opened many doors for him to meet the rich and famous of Parisian society.
In 1838, he met and married the novelist Aurore Dudevant who wrote under the male name of George Sand. They lived together on the Spanish island of Majorca but Chopin’s health began to deteriorate and they moved to Marseille in France. Later, they moved again, this time to Sand’s house about two hundred kilometres south of Paris. Chopin’s health began to improve and it became a time for him to be musically very productive.
Unfortunately the marriage became strained and he and Sand began to drift apart. Chopin’s health also started to slide again. In 1848, he came to London where he was well received. He made a number of public performances but he health continued to fail. His last London concert was at the Guildhall, in the City of London.
He returned to Paris where he died on the 17th October 1849. But there is a strange twist to the story of Chopin’s life. Most of him was buried in Paris but his heart was removed and later interred back in Warsaw. You could say that that was where his “heart” always belonged.