Born in Zelazowa Wola in central Poland to a French father and Polish mother, he started his musical education in 1816, composed his first work in 1817, and made his first appearance on stage in 1818. He studied music first with Joseph Elsner, and after 1826 in the Musical School in Warsaw.
In 1830 he left Poland for France and lived the rest of his life in Paris, where he died of tuberculosis in 1849. He was companion to novelist George Sand for ten years, but she left him when he got tuberculosis, and he died soon after that. His friends were Franz Liszt and Vincenzo Bellini (beside whom he is buried in the Père Lachaise).
Although Chopin is buried in Paris, his heart is entombed in a pillar in the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw, Poland.
His works, almost all for the piano, include:
- 58 mazurkas
- 19 waltzes
- 17 polonaises
- 21 nocturnes
- 4 ballades
- 4 scherzos
- 2 fantasies (if you include the Fantasie-Impromptu)
- 26 preludes
- 27 etudes
- 4 impromptus
- 3 ecossaises
- 2 bourrees
- 1 bolero
- 1 fugue
- 3 sonatas for solo piano
- 2 concertos for piano and orchestra
- 1 sonata for cello and piano
- 2 other works for cello and piano
- 1 piano trio for violin, cello and piano
- 16 songs for soprano(?) and piano