Featured Composer: Frederic Chopin

Frederic Chopin

When one thinks about music for piano, the first name that comes to mind is that of Frederic Chopin. Almost exclusively, Chopin’s music is written for piano. And nearly every pianist and piano student has played his Polonaises, Preludes, Nocturnes, Mazurkas, Waltzes, Etudes, and Ballades.

  • Dates: March 1, 1810 – October 17, 1849
  • Astrological Sign: Pisces
  • Nationality: Polish
  • Musical Style: Romantic
  • Most Famous Works: Piano Sonata No.2 in b-flat minor, known as “The Funeral March”, Nocturne in E-flat Major, “Revolutionary” Etude, Etude in E-flat Major, 4 Ballades, 2 Concerti for Piano and Orchestra

Chopin was an outstanding pianist and wrote wonderful music for piano. As a small boy, Chopin loved to listen to his mother play the piano and begged to try it himself.  It was soon clear that he was a child prodigy. He was composing and performing in public by the age of 7. As a young adult, Chopin left Poland in 1830 for Western Europe to play piano recitals and meet other composers. But he was never able to return back home. A Polish national uprising was defeated by Russian army, and Chopin could be put in jail for his connection with the uprising, if he returned to Poland.

While living the rest of his life in Paris, France, Chopin always was thinking about Poland, his family and dear friends that still were living in his home country. Chopin was never able to return to Poland – at least not during his lifetime. After Chopin died, at his request composer’s sister, Ludwika, had his heart be removed. When Chopin’s remains were laid to rest in Paris, Ludwika took the heart with her back to Poland and arranged for it to be kept in a pillar of the church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw.

Chopin was very emotional and often expressed his feelings with his music. Although Chopin lived in Paris his whole adult life, he loved his native country of Poland very much. One can hear that love and longing in many of Chopin’s pieces.

The composer often used the sounds of Polish folk music in his works, especially in his Polonaises and Mazurkas. These are some of the reasons why Chopin’s music is still so popular and speaks directly to one’s heart.


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • Dates: January 27th,  1756   –   December 5th,   1791
  • Astrological sign: Aquarius
  • Nationality: Austrian
  • Musical Style: Classical
  • Popular Compositions:  Piano: Sonata in C Major, K.545,  Piano and orchestra:  Concerto No. 20 in d minor and No. 21 in C Major.  Orchestra:  Symphony No. 40 in g minor, Eine Kleine Nachtmusic.  Opera:  Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute.

Fun Facts:

Mozart is the most famous child prodigy and a musical genius. As a child, Mozart played duets with his sister, Nannerl.   He married the cousin of the composer Carl Maria von Weber,        Constanze Weber.   Although he lived only 35 years, he composed 626 works for piano alone, orchestra,   piano and orchestra     orchestra with choir,    music theater,   solo instruments,    ensembles,  and voice.

It would take more than 200 hours to play all of Mozart’s music in a row.

Even as a little boy, Mozart was able to improvise amazing music based on a theme someone gave him – sometimes for hours.

Mozart spent 3,720 days away from home on concert tours!  That’s over 10 years of his life – and he only lived 35 years.



Zina Katsman

About Zina Katsman

Since 1998, Zina Katsman has been teaching piano in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago. Her studio is currently located in the Ravinia area of Highland Park, Illinois. In addition to teaching, Zina has played piano for the dance departments of Northwestern University and Columbia College, as well as the Hubbard Street Dance Company. Katsman has enthusiasm for music and a desire to teach, inspire and motivate students of all ages and skill levels with an interest and curiosity in music. For the past ten years, Zina’s piano instruction establishment, Zina Katsman Piano Studio, has had a student body of more than fifty students that attend weekly individual and group classes.