Poland was a major European power in the 15th, 16th and early 17th centuries. It was partitioned between Russia, Austria and Prussia (Germany today) in around 1790. It became a sovereign state after World War I, and the Polish pianist and composer Paderewski, became Prime Minister for one year, in 1919. Poland was once again invaded, this time by Hitler's Germany at the start of World War II. At the end of the war it became a nation again, but tightly controlled by its own communist government and the overwhelming influence of the Soviet Union (now Russia). Finally in 1989 it became a free western democracy.
The Warsaw Conservatory was founded in 1821, and Paderewski studied there. Moskowski chose to study in Germany, and Chopin was privately taught. Although Chopin was born and grew up in Poland, he moved to Paris at the age of 21, where he lived for the rest of his life. Chopin is by far the most well-known and frequently-played composer of piano music the world over. His idealized memories of his native Poland inspired all his musical compositions.