Ludwig van Beethoven

Born: December 17, 1770
Bonn, Germany
Died: March 26, 1827

Beethoven was the son of a strict, anxious man who drove him to practice music day and night. Despite this, Beethoven remained dedicated to the music, and was successful in his public performances. His father’s alcoholism and unstable nature forced Beethoven to become the main source of income for the family, but it wasn’t enough to keep the family out of poverty.

When he was 11 years old, he left school to become the assistant organist to Christian Gottlob Neefe in the Court of Bonn, as a student for Neefe and other musicians as well. He worked with the Bonn Opera as a piano and organ player, and was sent to Vienna for further instruction when he was 15. Upon arriving, however, he learned of his mother’s death and returned to Bonn. Once again, he took residence with the Bonn Opera Orchestra as a viola player, taught private lessons, and composed. He eventually moved to Vienna, and stayed there permanently. He studied under Haydn, Albrechtsberger, and Salieri. Wealthy friends who were impressed with his musical ability supported him.

Beethoven’s life was greatly affected by his oncoming hearing loss, which was first noticed in 1796. He knew he would eventually be completely deaf, and this caused him great depression. Although his capacity to compose was not affected, his ability to perform in live situations was greatly compromised and he was in despair over this. On the subject of his health, he penned a passionate letter to his brothers called the “Heliegenstadt Testament.” Once he recovered from his depression, he began to compose again, successfully.

During the final years of his life, Beethoven became cantankerous and rather hard to deal with. His deafness made him an angry person, and he often neglected to take care of his appearance, although he was known to be a prolific bather. A legend in his own time, he was admired greatly even though he was argumentative and gruff. He gave his final performance in 1814, and continued to compose until his death in 1826. Beethoven is considered the one person to single-handedly usher in the romantic period.

Instruments Played / Skills:
Piano Composer

Classical Music

Artists That Were Influenced By Ludwig van Beethoven:
Yngwie J. Malmsteen Vinnie Moore Robert Smith
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