Chopin 2010 Celebrations - Canberra
Fryderyk Chopin - discoverer of the soul of the piano
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Chopin 2010 Year

2010 is the year of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Poland’s famous composer Fryderyk Chopin who wrote mainly piano music. He discovered the soul of the piano and is regarded the Poet of the Piano and a Universal Composer.

Born in Zelazowa Wola some 60 kilometres from Warsaw on the 22nd February 1810. His mother was Polish a distant relation of the Skarbek family and his father originally came from France.

Fryderyk regarded a child prodigy of the piano and began composing at an early age. By the time he left Poland at the age of twenty he was a mature composer and the remaining 19 years sought perfection in his compositions.

He arrived in Paris in 1831 and became a celebrated virtuoso pianist even though he did not perform often. His income came from teaching piano. He had a love affair with the woman novelist George Sand (1838-1848) and in 1848 went to England for a tour. Already ill with consumption [now known as tuberculosis] his return to Paris marked a rapid decline in his health. He died in Paris on 17 October 1849 at the age of 39.

Chopin painted with sounds never heard of before and he has had no successor to equal him. 

Significance of Chopin to Poland

This event has been given parliamentary approval by the Polish government.

The Resolution of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland of 9 May 2008 proclaimed 2010 as the Year of Fryderyk Chopin:

“Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849), one of the greatest artists in the history of Polish culture, the most distinguished Polish composer, as well as a leading pianist and representative of the music of the Romantic period in the world. He is sometimes called a poet of the piano.

Although he belongs to the most willingly played composers of piano music, his pieces require the performer to possess excellent technique and virtuosity. Lying at the source of his work is great artistic sensitivity and the ability to draw on the patterns of Polish folk music.

Fryderyk Chopin is an artist who played an exceptional role in shaping our national identity. The year 2010 will see the 200th anniversary of the birth of this eminent figure.

Recognising the special importance of his artistic output for the Polish and global heritage, the Sejm of the Republic of Poland, hereby proclaims 2010 as the Year of Fryderyk Chopin.”

Bronislaw Komorowski, MARSHAL OF THE SEJM

The Polish Government has established various mechanisms to facilitate this historical event. The Biuro Obchodow Chopin 2010 is one. The 7th Polonijnej Rady Konsultacyjnej przy Marszalku Senatu released the following motion in September 2009:

“[8] Wyrazamy uznanie dla bogatego programu Obchodów Chopinowskich 2010, przygotowanego przez Ministerstwo Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego.

Zwracamy sie z apelem do organizacji polonijnych i polskich na calym swiecie o aktywne wlaczenie sie w realizacje przedsiewziec mogacych wzbogacic przypadajace
na rok przyszly obchody rocznicowe: urodzin Fryderyka Chopina ...”

To realise these directives the Polish Embassy in Australia has created an Honorory Committee & a working committee to coordinate its events in Australia.

The Polish government is also requesting the entire diaspora Polish community to organise events as well.


Significance of Chopin to the world

UNESCO’s Memory of the World is a program aimed at preserving and disseminating the most valuable archival and library collections worldwide. Its purpose is to protect the world’s most priceless cultural heritage because of its known impact on the world. Click here for more information from UNESCO.

The Memory of the World is the cultural equivalent of the World’s Heritage List.

The masterpieces of Fryderyk Chopin have been on this list since 1999 – ten years ago.

These are autograph or Chopin’s handwritten music, correspondence, notes & corrections, notebooks, copybook, etc. showing his entire musical output.
The citation reads in part:

“Fryderyk Chopin … is considered to be a composer of lasting and universal value. One of the most important features of his music is originality and novelty.

Even though Fryderyk Chopin was one of the fathers of Romanticism, his music has its individual character and his achievements outclassed those of his predecessors and followers”.

The nomination from Poland provided this assessment against the selection criteria [at 5.]:

“Fryderyk Chopin is one of the leading representatives of Romanticism which was of great importance in the 19th century. His influence can still be seen in his magnificent works and Romanticism still plays an important part in modern culture.

Chopin’s originality, uniqueness and popularity all over the world places him among the world’s most prominent musicians.

Romanticism is characterized in music by the use of large number of instruments, rich sound, the rejection of rigid rules, as well as by its presence of lyrical, folk and poetic elements. In his compositions Chopin combined elements of Polish culture with universal ones in a very sophisticated way, which appeals to people from different continents and cultural background.

Chopin’s works are unique, as they are quite different compositions from other Romantic composers.

Chopin’s musical output is of such great importance that UNESCO declared 1999 the Fryderyk Chopin International Year to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth” [i.e., death]. Click here for more information from UNESCO.

Only two composers - Brahms and one work of Beethoven’s have been added to this Memory of the World list. This is strong evidence to the claim that Chopin is a universal composer.

One of Australia’s popular composer

The ABC Classic 100 Piano (2005) surveyed the 100 piano pieces Australians couldn’t live without. Twenty of the hundred were Chopin’s music. He is one of Australia’s most popular composers.

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