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Chopin Forever: a digital retrospective on Google Arts & Culture

A picture of Chopin

Did you know that Chopin was a child star? He was writing and composing poetry at the age of 6, and performed his first public concerto at the age of 7. By the time he was 12, Chopin had already performed in the drawing rooms of countless Polish aristocrats and created multiple original compositions.

This is just a snippet of what you’ll discover through "Chopin Forever", an original online retrospective dedicated to the life, legacy and music of Chopin — brought to life through a collaboration between The Fryderyk Chopin Institute, twelve partners in 6 different countries and Google Arts & Culture.

And today, as the winners of the 18th International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw are announced, we are publishing a digital hub to bring the Polish composer even closer to his fans.

Put all your soul into it, play the way you feel! Fryderyk Chopin

Were you ever curious what benefits Chopin’s music could bring to your body and mind? Would you be interested to take a quiz on which actors played Chopin in the movies? How about taking a virtual trip through the places where he was born, lived and worked, or discovering flowers that accompanied him in the key moments of his life?

Users all around the world will now be able to explore over 50 expertly curated stories, more than 20 videos, over 1200 high-resolution images of objects, personal belongings and photographs related to the composer. We have also created a special Chrome extension — “Chopin Everywhere” — to delight music lovers.

The first-of-their-kind stories and exhibits in “Chopin Forever” offer an opportunity to take a deeper look at the Polish composer’s life and music, and explore his work from new angles:

Piano genius

It is impossible to imagine Chopin without the piano and the piano without Chopin. Both are one. The composer developed his skills guided by intuition and it was the instruments of Pleyel, Erard and Broadwood — piano builders and fellow composers — that Chopin knew best. However, it was Pleyel who managed to earn Chopin’s friendship. The history of the three Chopin pianos in the collection offers a glimpse into the world in which Chopin found himself when he visited London in 1848, giving the last performances of his life. And a treat for music lovers is the opportunity to take a closer look into the details of Chopin's manuscripts. Zoom into a lullaby Berceuse in D flat major, Op. 57 or deep dive into Etude Op. 10 No. 3.

A man of emotions

Chopin’s life can also be uncovered through the objects he was surrounded by — from the most personal to the most mysterious. What stories do his personal belongings tell? The candy box, a golden pocket watch with a dedication, pearls and other treasures are brought to life in this new exhibit. Even interior design tips can be found in his letters. Chopin was also well-known for his exquisite taste. Where would he eat, what would he drink? Many Parisian celebrities would invite Chopin to make the social rounds. George Sand even sketched a satirical drawing in which we see the composer rushing to a dinner party, a few steps at a time.

Everlasting influence

Chopin was a man of many talents and a romantic superstar who inspired many. Listeners gave him many names, such as the poet of the piano or Ariel. Chopin and his music have inspired paintings, portraits, monuments and sculptures of all genres. One of the unique art series is the magical world of the 24 Preludes seen through the eyes of the unjustly forgotten German artist Robert Spies.

Chopin and pop culture

Most people don’t realize it, but Chopin has left a mark on modern culture. There are lots of his traces in the movies. One of the most important films featuring Chopin’s original music is Roman Polański’s “The Pianist,” starring Adrien Brody. You can also hear the Polish composer's music in Nelson Riddle’s soundtrack to the Batman series! Chopin has not only become part of the world of cinema and television, but even entered the realm of video games. The official soundtrack of “Gran Turismo 5” features famous piano works by Chopin.

Restored and digitized

Hear some of the oldest existing recordings. Deutsche Grammophon and Google Arts & Culture teamed up to restore and digitize six previously unpublished cultural treasures. Now those historic shellac recordings are accessible to the public for the first time in high-quality. Some of them are dated back to 1905, like the one by Alfred Grünfeld — a gifted composer who became the first pianist of note to make gramophone recordings.

Music’s influence on emotions

New research in music psychology and therapy shows that Chopin's tunes can evoke positive emotions, improve psychological well-being, regulate emotion, and even reduce stress. Try this amazing “musical medicine” feature that contains Chopin’s Berceuse in D flat major Op. 57. Feel how the piece has a relaxing and calming effect on the body.

Learn together

In order to make a living in Paris, Chopin had to take up a job that gave him a regular income. Fryderyk became a teacher. Over time, his lessons became one of the most expensive in Paris. Now, we give all teachers and parents an easy way to introduce Chopin to their young ones. Using the lesson plan and Google Arts & Culture resources you will find out what led Chopin to be hailed as a musical genius from the age of seven.

Chopin Competition and young masters

Why do musicians from all over the world love Chopin? Hear pianists sharing their feelings, including Jan Lisiecki and Yulianna Avdeeva among others. Get to know the 10 winners of the Chopin Piano Competition in the United States. Read Chopin competition winner Seong-Jin Cho's reflections on the composer and his influence and discover the history and world behind this exceptional music event.

Unique web experience

‘Chopin Everywhere’ is a Chrome extension that proposes a more intuitive way to learn about the incredible connections between Chopin and the world, as you’re browsing the web. Every time you open a new tab, you reveal an interesting fact about Chopin, and how that’s connected to other artists and concepts, across time and space. The extension enables you to transform any Wikipedia page related to Chopin into a wellbeing moment, making the letters and images on the page beautifully react to the rhythm of Chopin’s compositions.

Explore “Chopin Forever” on the Google Arts & Culture app on iOS or Android or online via Subscribe to the Chopin Institute channel on YouTube to enjoy great performances of Chopin’s compositions and to watch concerts of the 18th edition of competition prize-winners.

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