Written by: Trevor Nelson
Maria Szymanowska was born in Poland in 1789. She began studying piano at the age of 9 and made her concert debut in Warsaw when she was 21. Immediately praised for her lyricism and virtuosity, Szymanowska began to tour Europe, playing concerts in all the European artistic centers, as well as large cities in the Russian territories like Moscow, Kiev, and St. Petersburg. When she played at the Russian Imperial Court, she was bestowed with the title “First Pianist.” Elsewhere in Europe, she frequently collaborated with other famous musicians, including the infamous soprano, Giuditta Pasta. She composed around 100 pieces for piano, many integrating Polish nationalist elements, such as mazurka dance rhythms. Later in life, she settled in St. Petersburg and ran an influential salon.
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