Born: December 17, 1770, Bonn, Germany
Died: March 26, 1827, Vienna, Austria
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. Beethoven is acknowledged as one of the giants of classical music; occasionally he is referred to as one of the "three Bs" (along with Bach and Brahms). His most famous compositions comprise nine symphonies, five concertos for piano, 32 piano sonatas and 16 string quartets. He also composed other chamber music, choral works (including the celebrated Missa Solemnis), and songs.
Born in Bonn, Beethoven displayed his musical talents at an early age and was taught by his father Johann van Beethoven and Christian Gottlob Neefe. Beethoven was not well-educated yet he had a forceful, magnetic personality and many friends. he was known to be was hot-tempered, often ill-mannered, and suspicious.
Beethoven moved to Vienna in 1792 and began studying with Haydn, quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. He lived in Vienna until his death. In about 1800 his hearing began to deteriorate, and visitors to Beethoven began to write their conversations down for him to read. About 140 “conversation books” are known to still exist. By the last decade of his life he was almost totally deaf. He gave up conducting and performing in public but continued to compose; many of his most admired works come from this period.