In the early 1830s Parisian salons were abuzz with the name Fredric Chopin (1810-1849), the delicately attractive, gently mannered, frightfully reclusive pianist, teacher, and composer who recently fled political repression in his Polish homeland. It wasn't just that Chopin was highly praised by Liszt and Schumann; his performances -- often enraptured improvisations that were spectacular for both their sensitivity and power -- were delicately genius and wholly unconcerned with the showboating pianism that was so popular in Paris. A celebrated recitalist in his early 20s, Chopin composed while playing, and had difficulty capturing ideas on paper. Much of his work can be sorted by its professional function: his four concert-giving years (1828-32) produced virtuosic pieces and music for piano and orchestra, where his pedagogy yielded volumes of moderately difficult studies, waltzes, preludes, and mazurkas. After the demise of an alleged affair with novelist George Sand, Chopin's emotional and physical problems hastened his death. Then and now, Fredric Chopin is cherished for his towering originality and resourcefulness in exploiting the expressive possibilities of the piano.