The year 2010 is the 200th Anniversary of Chopin's birth in Zelazowa Wola, Poland, west of Warsaw. When still quite young, Chopin moved permanently to Paris where he made a name for himself as a virtuoso pianist and composer of piano pieces. Although living far from his homeland, he continued to identify closely with Poland, despairing when it was overrun by the Russian Tsar.
Many of Chopin's pieces recall his childhood and include Polish dances such as Mazurkas and Polonaises. His music makes use of the many innovations which the piano had recently undergone. The new piano of his time had a greater range in both pitch and dynamics, and pedals were added to vary its tone color.
While in Paris, Chopin had a relationship with the woman novelist George Sand. By the time his relationship with her ended, he was seriously ill with tuberculosis.
Chopin wrote almost exclusively for the piano. His major compositions include waltzes, etudes and Polish dances such as mazurkas. Two of his best known pieces are the Minute Waltz and the Funeral March from his second piano sonata.
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