Fryderyk Chopin

A biography of the Polish composer by musicologist Alan Walker.

Alan Walker

Based on ten years of research and a vast cache of primary sources located in archives in Warsaw, Paris, London, New York, and Washington, D.C., Alan Walker's Fryderyk Chopin is the most comprehensive biography of the great Polish composer to appear in English in more than a century. Walker's work is a corrective biography, intended to dispel the many myths and legends that continue to surround Chopin. Fryderyk Chopin is an intimate look into a dramatic life; of particular focus are Chopin's childhood and youth in Poland, which are brought into line with the latest scholarly findings, and Chopin's romantic life with George Sand, with whom he lived for nine years.

Comprehensive and engaging, and written in highly readable prose, the biography wears its scholarship lightly: this is a book suited as much for the professional pianist as it is for the casual music lover. Just as he did in his definitive biography of Liszt, Walker illuminates Chopin and his music with unprecedented clarity in this magisterial biography, bringing to life one of the nineteenth century's most confounding, beloved and legendary artists. (from Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Fryderyk Chopin is a finalist for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction. The winner will be announced on Oct. 29, 2019.

From the book

I would like to make an assertion that I cannot prove but am certain is true. Within a fifty-kilometer radius of where I am writing this Prologue, someone somewhere is either playing or listening to Chopin's music. Nor does it depend on the location of my writing desk — which happens to be situation near Toronto. Move it to New York, London, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow or Beijing, and my proposition remains the same.

Whatever the time zone, the sun never sets on Chopin's music. Millions of listeners are held in thrall to it. Radio stations across the world broadcast his compositions. 

From Fryderyk Chopin by Alan Walker ©2018. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.