Frederic Francois Chopin was born in Zelazowa, Poland on February 22, 1810. He was a child prodigy and had written the Polonaise in G minor before the age of 8. He had also given a public recital in Warsaw by this time. From 1826 to 1829, he studied at the Warsaw Conservatory under Joseph Elsner.
He left Poland in 1829 and gave recitals in both Vienna and Munich, where he was acclaimed as both a composer and a pianist. He did not return to Poland, but chose to settle in Paris in 1831. However, his feelings for his homeland were expressed in the emotions of his polonaises and mazurkas. His fame in Paris grew, but he always suffered from poor health and traveling exhausted his strength.
At the time Chopin was composing, other composers were attempting to produce unique musical effects. His style is one that transitions between the Classical music of the 18th century and the Romantic music of the 19th century. His works contain profound emotion in their delicate melodies and new harmonic and rhythmic effects. He was the first composer to make use of both the loud dramatic qualities and the soft lyrical qualities of a musical instrument. Most of his works are shorter compositions for solo piano, but he did compose longer works, such as the Grande Polonaise and two concertos. In his solo pieces he perfected the forms of the ballad, scherzo, prelude, polonaise and the mazurka. He died from tuberculosis in Paris on October 17, 1849.