CHOPIN BIOGRAPHY CHOPIN BIOGRAPHY

Year 1816 Year 1816

Introduced to the secrets of piano-playing – according to family tradition – by his sister Ludwika. The six-year-old Chopin began regular lessons under Wojciech Żywny (1756–1842), a Czech settled in Warsaw, where he worked as a private music teacher, and was one of the pedagogues at Mikołaj Chopin's boarding house. Whilst his pupils remembered him as a somewhat comical and old-fashioned character, he is known to have based the solid musical education of his pupils on Bach and Mozart. Chopin never had another piano teacher. Also learning under Żywny at the same time was Ludwika, with whom Fryderyk played four-handed.

16 June. World premiere of Zabobon czyli Krakowiaków i Górali [The Superstition, or Cracovians and Highlanders], 'a dramatic entertainment with songs' by Karol Kurpiński; to a theme from one of these songs (W mieście dziwne obyczaje [In the Town Strange Customs]), Chopin would later improvise.

November. Warsaw publication of Śpiewy historyczne [Historical Songs] by Julian Ursyn Niemcewicz, with melodies by over a dozen contemporary composers, including Kurpiński, Franciszek Lessel, Józef Deszczyński and Maria Szymanowska, illustrated with copper-plate engravings, later reprinted many times, universally sung and read across the whole country. They belonged to the repertoire of nationalistic songs in the Chopin home and boarding house. Twenty years later, the Russian Governor of the Polish Kingdom (E. I. Paskiewicz) stated that the Śpiewy 'in inculcating into young minds a love for the former fatherland, at the same time aroused within them a vivid and fanciful patriotism, inflaming the knightly spirit and a passionate desire to follow in the footsteps of courageous ancestors'.

6 December. First known written utterance: a greetings card on his father's name-day.