Poland winds down Chopin bicentennial

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Poland wound down the bicentennial year of its celebrated romantic composer and pianist Frederic Chopin Tuesday with the last of some 6,000 events organised around the globe over the course of the year in his honour.

American-born pianist Kevin Kenner marked Chopin's 201 birthday Tuesday with a concert of the composer's Mazurka's played on an antique Erard piano from 1838 at his childhood home in the village of Zelazowa Wola near the Polish capital Warsaw.

Acclaimed Russian pianist Danil Trifonov was due to perform Tuesday evening in the grand finale of the bicentennial at a Chopin concert featuring the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra conducted by acclaimed Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki at the Warsaw Philharmonic.

Earlier this year, Trifonov took third place in the XVI Frederic Chopin International Competition won by Russia's Yulianna Avdeeva.

The Chopin bicentennial "was an excellent opportunity to create a different image for Poland. That of a modern country, which remembers its history and which boasts a great composer like Frederic Chopin," Katarzyna Sobierajska, Poland's deputy minister of sport and tourism told AFP.

Born March 1, 1810, Chopin fled Poland during the 1830 insurrection against the occupying forces of Tsarist Russia. He lived in Vienna before moving to Paris where he died aged 39 on October 17, 1849.

A cutting-edge museum that has already attracted some 200,000 visitors, a raft concerts and the prestigious international competition held once every five years were among the events that paid homage to Poland's beloved musical genius over the last year.

Born to a Polish mother and French father, Frederic Chopin lies buried in Pere-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, but his heart was returned to his homeland and rests in Warsaw's Holy Cross church.

© 2011 AFP

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