This is the first of a series designed to honour the life and work of an extraordinary man who affected the lives of all of us to some extent, even though he lived nearly two centuries ago. For some, like myself, who first heard his music at the age of six, he changed our lives completely. Because of his music, I found myself practising the piano 6 - 8 hours a day all through my childhood. At thirteen, I managed to perform the 'Heroic' Polonaise on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York. By twenty-one, I'd got myself to Warsaw, to see where he came from, and to study with one of the great inte
rpreters of his music. Everybody, however, has heard his music and been moved by its power and charm, whether they play the piano or not. His music brings us into direct contact with with the most authentic emotions and aspirations of the human spirit in a way that is perhaps more important today than ever before. Please join me in celebrating the life and music of Frederic Chopin.