John Field was born in Dublin in Ireland in 1782. His father was a violinist. John was an infant prodigy at ten years old, so at the age of 11 his father took him to London to study under Clementi. Haydn heard him play the piano and remarked on his remarkable ability. By the age of 17 he was in great demand in London as a concert pianist, and his first piano concerto was performed there.

As a composer, Field pioneered romantic piano music.  The Nocturne was Field's invention, but later was used by Chopin with huge success.  In 1802 Field went to St Petersburg and  Moscow, where he was adopted by the Russian aristocracy. He stayed there for the rest of his life, apart from a short visit to London for a year after he became ill. He died in Moscow in 1837.