2010 was the 200th anniversary of Chopin's birth, and to celebrate this the Society organised a concert series, In the Footsteps of Chopin, based around places where Chopin stayed or performed during his visit to London in 1848.One of the highlight of the series has been the gala at Lancaster House (formerly Stafford House) on May 15th, the same date as when Chopin performed there in front of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. A concert was given in the music room with the cellist Steven Isserlis accompanied by pianist Sam Haywood playing the Chopin cello sonata and Nikolai Demidenko performing other Chopin works on the Pleyel piano Chopin brought to London and had in his Dover Street apartment.
The Bicentenary Gala Concert at Lancaster House
Chopin's deathIn 1999, one hundred and fifty years after Chopin's death, there was a Chopin 150 Festival on the South Bank in London and the Society sponsored talks given by Chopin experts from all over the world. In addition we mounted a Chopin exhibition with the Polish Philatelic Society at the Polish Institute, where we also launched our first International Celebrity Recital series - see the newly-launched Chopin Society archive. In a ceremony at the Polish Embassy, our President, Rose Cholmondeley, was awarded the Knights Cross of the Order of Merit for her work with the Chopin Society.
Chopin's visit to Britain
Chopin's last concert
Chopin's last public performance was given at Guildhall in the City of London in November 1848, less than a year before he died. In 1978 the Chopin Society joined with the Byron Society and the Anglo-Polish Society to hold a concert at Guildhall to mark the 130th anniversary. A bust of Chopin by Jaroslaw Alfer was presented to Guildhall.
In 1998 the Society, together with Marie Curie Cancer Care, marked the 150th anniversary of Chopin's last concert and the 50th anniversary of Marie Curie Cancer Care, with a royal gala at Guildhall. HRH Princess Alexandra was guest of honour and the recital was given by Nikolai Demidenko.In 2010, again in conjunction with Marie Curie Cancer Care, the Chopin Society presented an evening at Guildhall recreating the spirit of the original event in 1848, with a concert, dinner and ball for 400 people.