Frédéric François Chopin was born Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin, on March 1, 1810, in Zelazowa Wola, Masovia region, Duchy of Warsaw, Poland. His father, named Mikolaj (Nicolas) Chopin, was a Frenchman who came to Poland from Lorraine, and eventually became professor at Warsaw Lyceum. His mother, named Tekla Justina Krzyzanovska, was a relative of Polish Countess Ludwika Skarbkowa, owner of the Zelazowa Wola estate.

From 1816-1822 Chopin studied piano under professional musician Wojcech Zywny. He wrote his first piano compositions at the age of 7. In 1820, then ten-year-old Chopin moved with his parents to Warsaw. There he gained a reputation as a "second Mozart" for his piano playing. From 1823-1826 Chopin studied at the Warsaw Lyceum. In 1824 he was influenced by the Jewish folklore and composed Mazurka in A minor, called "The Jewish" by Chopin himself. From 1826-1830 he studied at the Warsaw Conservatory under pianist Wilhelm Wurfel and composer Josef Elsner. In 1829 Chopin attended a performance of Niccolò Paganini in Warsaw. In the same year Chopin gave solo concerts in Vienna and premiered his Piano Concerto No.1 in F minor. In 1830 he premiered his Piano Concerto No.2 in E minor at the National Theatre in Warsaw. He visited Vienna again in November of same year and played his two piano concertos with great success. After Vienna he continued his concert tour to Munich and Stuttgart. There he learned of the invasion of the Russian Army in Poland, and composed the Etude in C minor, called Revolutionary. Chopin chose the status of a political exile and finally emigrated to Paris, France.

From 1830-1849 Chopin established himself as composer and piano player in Paris. There he changed his name into Frédéric François Chopin. In Paris he met Franz Liszt, who initiated a friendship, and they played together in several concerts, but later became rivals. Chopin formed personal friendship with composer and critic Hector Berlioz. His other personal friends were Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Vincenzo Bellini. In 1835 he made a trip to Dresden and Karlsbad, where he visited with his relatives and accompanied them to Poland. He became seriously ill with bronchial asthma on his way back to Paris. In 1836 he proposed to a seventeen-year-old Polish girl, named Maria Wodzinska, and she accepted. Their engagement lasted for several months, but was called off in 1837 by her mother after a certain manipulative influence by George Sand.

In October of 1836, in Paris Chopin met George Sand at a party hosted by Marie d'Agoult, mistress of Franz Liszt. Initially Chopin commented on Sand: "What an antipathetic woman". In June of 1837 Sand wrote in a letter to her friend about her agenda to abandon another affair in order to start a relationship with Chopin. George Sand was strongly attracted to Chopin, she destroyed his engagement to Maria Wodzinska, and dominated his life for nine years. Chopin and Sand had a turbulent relationship. In 1839, during their first winter vacation together on Mallorca, Sand took along her children from her previous marriage. At Mallorca Chopin did not have a decent piano to practice, while he was composing his 'Raindrop' prelude. Sand witnessed the completion of Chopin's greatest masterpiece, the cycle of 24 Preludes. He had to struggle with a poor rental piano and became unhappy and fell ill, but received little help from local doctors. Later Chopin enjoyed a better environment at Sand's estate in Nohant. There his creativity flourished during the summers of 1839 until 1843. At that time Chopin composed many important works. However, Chopin and Sand were not a good match, and eventually their differences prevailed. Sand was a pipe smoker and a flamboyant party goer. Chopin suffered from bronchial asthma and tuberculosis and needed a quiet solitude for his music. In George Sand's violent quarrel with her daughter Solange, Chopin defended the daughter. Sand left Chopin.

In February of 1848 Chopin gave his last concerts in Paris. He went to England and Scotland in November of 1848, and fell ill there. He gave his last concerts in London while being severely ill. He returned to Paris, but was unable to teach or perform for several months during 1849. Shortly before he died, sensing the end was near, Chopin had requested that Requiem by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart be sung at his funeral service at the Church of the Madeleine. He also requested that his heart be removed and brought in an urn to Warsaw, Poland. Chopin died on October 17, 1849, but could not be buried for two weeks, because the church did not allow female singers for the Mozart's Requiem. At last, the church relented and the funeral was held on October 30, 1849. A crowd of four thousand attended the ceremony. Composer Berlioz, artist Delacroix, poet Adam Mickiewicz, singer Viardot, were present among many others from cultural circles - but notably absent was George Sand. Chopin's heart was dispatched in an urn to Warsaw, and his body was laid to rest in the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, France.