Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) was born near Warsaw to a Polish mother and a French father. He grew up in Poland and showed early promise as a pianist and composer. At age 21 he left Poland to give a concert tour of Europe, and eventually settled in Paris. There his social circle included a number of well-known composers, including Liszt, Rossini, and Berlioz. Starting in the late 1830s, Chopin carried on a passionate love affair with novelist Aurore Dudevant, better known by her pen name, George Sand. Around that time, he developed a case of tuberculosis, which eventually killed him at age 39.
Almost all of Chopin's works include piano. He wrote concertos and other works for piano and orchestra, but most of his work was for solo piano. His output included three sonatas, 27 etudes, 24 preludes, works in free form such as the ballades, scherzi, and fantasies, and character pieces such as the polonaises, mazurkas, and waltzes. Schumann called him "the boldest and proudest poetic spirit of the age."
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