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Zofia Chechlińska

[Živný; Vojtěch, Zhyvny, Ziwny, Żiwny, Zwiny]

(b Bohemia, May 13, 1756; d Warsaw, Feb 21, 1842). Polish piano teacher and composer of Bohemian origin. He studied the violin, the piano, harmony and counterpoint with Jan Kuchař in Bohemia, where his earliest compositions were also written. After a probable stay in Stuttgart and Zweibrücken, he arrived in Poland some time during the reign of Stanisław August (1764–95). For three years he worked at the court of Prince Kazimierz Sapieha; he then moved to Warsaw, where within a short time he became one of the most successful piano teachers. Of the large number of pianists who studied with Żywny, the most famous was Chopin, whom Żywny taught from 1816 until 1822. Chopin thought highly of him, saying that, ‘with Żywny and Elsner the greatest ass would learn’; and the greatness of the pupil helped to spread the fame of the teacher. It was Żywny who eventually decided to discontinue Chopin’s lessons, feeling that there was nothing further he could teach him. Żywny wrote a number of works for the piano, including sonatas, preludes and polonaises, as well as lieder and overtures. None of his works were published and nearly all are lost. (...