WHO WE ARE
concerts, workshops, lectures and master classes
performance opportunities for young artists
the Canadian Chopin Competition and Festival
the competition winners' travel to the International Chopin Competition in Poland
in the International Federation of Chopin Societies
content to promote the music of Fryderyk Chopin
The Canadian Chopin Society (CCS) is a registered charitable organization based in Mississauga, Ontario,
dedicated to celebrating the legacy of Fryderyk Chopin and promoting his music, while nurturing the development of young artists.
The CCS began as a committee under the auspices of the Maximilian Kolbe Foundation at the John Paul II Polish Cultural Centre in Mississauga.
The Chopin Committee organized the First, Second and Third Canadian Chopin Piano Competitions (in 1999, 2004 and 2010 respectively).
Prizes in all three competitions included the top winners’ travel to participate in the International F. Chopin Piano Competition.
In 2010, the competition was expanded to include the Canadian Chopin Festival, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Chopin. The Festival presented inspiring and informative workshops, lectures and master classes by prominent Chopin performers and scholars, culminating with a sold-out gala concert highlighting the winners of the Third Canadian Chopin Piano Competition in the Royal Conservatory’s spectacular Koerner Hall. The success of these events was largely due to partnerships formed with other organizations and groups in the Polish and musical communities.
Building on the success of the 2010 events, the Canadian Chopin Society was formed in 2012 as an independent not-for profit entity. The Fourth Canadian Chopin Competition and Festival was held in 2014. The second prize winner, Tony Yike Yang, was awarded the fifth prize at the International Fryderyk Chopin Piano Competition in October 2015, and the youngest laureate in the history of the competition.
In 2017, the Canadian Chopin Society Scholarship Program was launched, with the goal of increasing awareness of the Canadian Chopin Piano Competition, and providing support and encouragement to young pianists to expand their repertoire and deepen their understanding of the music of Chopin.
The Fifth Canadian Chopin Piano Competition and Festival was held August 23 – 29, 2019.
Fryderyk Chopin (1810-49) is universally recognized as a highly significant and influential composer. His original approach to writing for the piano, combining poetic lyricism with seemingly effortless virtuosity, gives his music a distinct flavor. Two hundred years after his birth, Chopin’s harmonies, textures and figurations still seem vital and fresh, captivating audiences and challenging performers today as they did in his lifetime.
The son of a Polish mother and French father, Chopin was born at Zelazowa Wola, not far from Warsaw. He spent only the first twenty years of his short life in Poland during troubled times in the nation’s history. Nonetheless he was profoundly influenced by the country of his birth in the development of both his personality and his music. For his countrymen in Poland and abroad, the music of Chopin remains a symbol of pride and patriotism.
In 1830, having shown great promise as a pianist-composer, Chopin set off on what was planned as a European tour. He left Poland as a mature composer with a fully formed personal style and an impressive portfolio of compositions: works in the classical sonata and rondo forms, pieces exploring style brilliant and variation technique, national dances and songs characterized by their Polish flavor, two concertos for piano and orchestra and a dazzling set of virtuosic etudes, demonstrating his originality and revolutionary approach.
The remaining years of Chopin’s life were spent in Paris. Here he became part of exclusive social circles that included illustrious musicians and artists, Franz Liszt, Eugene Delacroix, Heinrich Heine and Victor Hugo amongst them. Much has been written about Chopin’s relationship with the colorful novelist Aurore Dudevant, better known as George Sand, which unfolded over a decade that witnessed the composition of some of his most admired works.
Chopin made frequent appearances in the most prestigious salons of Paris but, for a pianist of this stature, played in relatively few public concerts. Throughout his life he was plagued with poor health, battling the tuberculosis that would lead to his death at the age of 39. Although buried at the Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, his heart was brought back to his beloved homeland. To this day it lies in the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw where admirers from around the world come to pay homage.
Unlike most composers of his time, Chopin’s creative work was focused almost exclusively on the piano. He composed neither symphonies nor operas, yet his music has had a profound influence on generations of future composers. His musical legacy is revealed in the elegance of the waltzes, lyricism of the nocturnes, poetry of the ballades, grandeur of the polonaises, subtlety of the mazurkas and brilliance of the etudes.
Dr. Janet Lopinski
Artistic Director, Canadian Chopin Society