Final touch of maestro: Last piano of Frederic Chopin under renovation

The last piano on which Frederic Chopin played his final pieces, a Pleyel model from 1848, is undergoing thorough renovation from the hands of Paul McNulty - an eminent American expert on historical pianos.

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At the end of November 1848, already seriously ill, Frederic Chopin was given the instrument by his friend Camille Pleyel, a piano manufacturer, created at his famous Parisian label. It was the last piano the composer played on.

After Chopin's death, the instrument was purchased by his student, Jane Stirling, and then given to the deceased composer’s sister, Ludwika Jędrzejewiczowa. Transported by sea, it arrived in Warsaw in August 1850.

The piano, as one of the most important mementoes of Frederic Chopin, was carefully kept and preserved by successive generations of the family. In 1924 it was sold to the National Museum in Warsaw, where it was exhibited until the outbreak of the Warsaw Rising. After its fall, the instrument was taken by the Nazi Germans to Austria.

The piano returned to Warsaw on April 24, 1946. For some time it was exhibited in Żelazowa Wola, the place of the composer’s birth, located some 45 km west of Warsaw. In 1958 it was deposited by the National Museum, and later became the property of the Fryderyk Chopin Society and was moved to the Ostrogski Palace, where the Chopin Museum in Warsaw is located. Since 2005, it has been a depository item in the Fryderyk Chopin Institute.