Wojciech Zywny

Wojciech Zywny

Birth
Mseno, Okres Mělník, Středočeský (Central Bohemia), Czech Republic
Death 21 Feb 1842 (aged 85)
Warsaw, Mazowieckie, Poland
Burial Warsaw, Miasto Warszawa, Mazowieckie, Poland
Memorial ID 65932540 · View Source
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Violinist, Pianist, Teacher, Composer. As the only professional piano teacher of Frederic Chopin, his name is inextricably linked with that giant of Romantic music. Zywny was born Vojtech Živný in Mšeno, Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic). He also used the German first name of Adalbert. Little is known of his early career though he apparently spent part of the 1780s in Germany. He moved to Poland in 1790 to become a court violinist for Prince Kazimierz Nestor Sapieha, and after the Prince's 1792 exile he settled in Warsaw as a private music teacher. Known as an eccentric, Zywny composed prolifically but refused to publish his music. His style was rooted in classicism while also reflecting early Romantic and eastern European folk influences. The prodigiously gifted Chopin was brought to Zywny for piano lessons in 1816, when he was six. Zywny provided the technical rudiments of pianism and showed him how to write down his earliest pieces, including the polonaise (1817) that was his first published effort. He also prepared the youngster for his debut public performance, an 1818 benefit concert at Warsaw's Radziwill Palace, in which he scored a hit playing a concerto by Adalbert Gyrowetz. Their lessons ended in 1822 when Zywny admitted there was nothing more he could teach the 12-year-old genius. Chopin would always speak highly of him, calling him "Honest Zywny". If he contributed little to Chopin's original keyboard technique, the influence he exerted on his composing is inestimable. Along with a solid classical grounding, he gave Chopin the independence to develop his talents as he wished. Zywny certainly passed along his musical tastes, introducing him to the works of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven; the first two were the only composers Chopin admired without reservation. As an adult Chopin regularly practiced Bach's 48 Preludes and Fugues and said that compared to them, his own music was "scribblings". The nexus of Chopin's art - classical economy and absolutism, deep emotional expression, and freedom of form - was incubated under Zywny. The kindly old instructor died in Warsaw at 85, conscious of where his claim to fame would lie. It is engraved on his tomb: "Teacher of Frederic Chopin".

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Cuneyt Telli
  • Added: 20 Feb 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 65932540
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Wojciech Zywny (13 May 1756–21 Feb 1842), Find a Grave Memorial no. 65932540, citing Cmentarz Powązkowski, Warsaw, Miasto Warszawa, Mazowieckie, Poland ; Maintained by Find A Grave .