Chopin was born in the village of Zelazowa Wola, in the Duchy of Warsaw, to a French-expatriate father and Polish mother, and in his early life was regarded as a child-prodigy pianist. In November 1830, at the age of twenty, he went abroad; following the suppression of the Polish November Uprising of 1830–1831, he became one of many expatriates of the Polish "Great Emigration."
In Paris, Chopin made a comfortable living as a composer and piano teacher, while giving few public performances. Though an ardent Polish patriot, in France he used the French versions of his names and eventually, to avoid having to rely on Imperial Russian documents, became a French citizen. After some ill-fated romantic involvements with Polish women, from 1837 to 1847 he had a turbulent relationship with the French writer George Sand (Aurore Dudevant). Always in frail health, he died in Paris in 1849, at the age of thirty-nine, of chronic pulmonary tuberculosis.
Chopin's extant compositions were written primarily for the piano as a solo instrument. Though they are technically demanding, his style emphasises nuance and expressive depth. Chopin invented musical forms such as the ballade and was responsible for major innovations in forms such as the piano sonata, mazurka, waltz, nocturne, étude, impromptu and prélude. His works are masterpieces and mainstays of Romanticism in 19th-century classical music.
All coins in this series:
- Felix Mendelssohn
- Frédéric Chopin
- Robert Schumann
- Gustav Mahler
- Franz Liszt