Master composer, virtuso pianist and firm favourite comes to Finchcocks

Chopin is considered one of the great masters of the Romantic era (~1800-1900), fathers of romantic piano music and a virtuso performer urivalled in his generation. He is revered amongst pianists and non-pianists alike for his painfully beautiful, soulful and intricate writing.

Bio in bullets

  • A Polish child prodigy, Chopin played to Tsar Alexander I as an early teenager.
  • Chopin attended the Warsaw Conservatoire and studied under Elsner, who wrote of him: “Chopin, Fryderyk, third-year student, amazing capabilities, musical genius.”
  • He moved to Vienna then Paris to continue his musical education and broaden his influences.
  • In his 39 years, Chopin produced over 230 works for piano.
  • Sensitive and a delicate performer, Chopin’s playing differed from the style of the time. He preferred intimate salon performances to formal public concerts, giving only 30 concerts in his last 18 years.
  • He had a number of high profile affairs, most notably with popular novelist George Sand.
  • Over 3,000 people attended his ticketed funeral.

Typical piano of Chopin’s era

Chopin’s favourite make of piano was the Pleyel piano. You can visit a beautiful example of one at the historic Finchcocks Richard Burnett collection in Tunbridge Wells.

An Advanced Finchcocks summer school guest, Irena, on her visit to the Burnett collection.

Chopin’s contemporaries

  • Mendelssohn
  • Clara & Robert Schumann
  • Liszt

Firm favourites
Nocturne in Eb major Op. 9 No. 2
“Minute” Waltz in Db major Op. 64 No. 1
Fantasy Impromptu Op. 66

Random fact

Chopin’s music can be found on countless film and TV soundtracks. Amongst the credits are:

  • The Pianist
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Fatal Attraction
  • The Truman Show

“Music was his language, the divine tongue through which he expressed a whole realm of sentiments that only the select few can appreciate… The muse of his homeland dictates his songs, and the anguished cries of Poland lend to his art a mysterious, indefinable poetry which, for all those who have truly experienced it, cannot be compared to anything else… The piano alone was not sufficient to reveal all that lies within him. In short he is a most remarkable individual who commands our highest degree of devotion.”

Franz Liszt


Chopin course with Warren Mailley-Smith

Following the huge success of the UK’s inaugral weekend Chopin course here at Finchcocks, we look forward to learning more this September with Warren Mailley-Smith. The course is for upper intermediate players upwards and will be mixed ability.

Over the course of the weekend, Warren will explore and demonstrate both the technical aspects of playing Chopin’s music as well as sessions on how to perform Chopin’s music to the best of our ability.

He’ll explain why Chopin sounds like Chopin and show us how Chopin intended us to play his pieces. In the masterclass sessions, we’ll look at developing phrasing and articulation, with plenty of tips on performance and how to polish our pieces and make them sound as natural and elegant as possible.

Guests will be treated to a recital by Warren on the Saturday evening in our stunning main hall, soaking in the delights of Chopin and the romantics, Finchcocks’ charm and sipping a glass of wine after a hard day’s learning and playing!

Classic FM attended our first course and said it: “was amazing to spend so much time dedicated to thinking about Chopin’s music in the gorgeous setting of Finchcocks – and a pleasure to share the weekend with a group of people equally in love with Chopin, and his incredible musical legacy.”

Warren Mailley-Smith

Here at Finchcocks, we are very lucky to have Warren on our staff. Our Chopin and romantics expert, he is a must-experience tutor for all Chopin lovers! Over the course of a year, he performed the entirety of Chopin’s works, 3.5 million notes from memory! Classic FM wrote an article about this mountainous achievement and how he did it.

For booking enquiries, please contact Jenny on 01580 428080 or fill in the form here.