Ludwig Van Beethoven

Great Composer and Pianist

A Germany composer, pianist and conductor, one of the most significant and influential figures in the history of classical music, known for his Symphonies.

Ludwig Van Beethoven gigantic influence made an impression on nearly every composer who came after him. He is considered the best of all-time composers. He was a crucial and predominant musical figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music.

The influence of Beethoven can be traced through art, literature and music. Sculptures, paintings, poems, and fictional novels have been created through the inspiration of Beethoven. Virtually all his major works are standard repertoire pieces, familiar to musicians and listeners throughout the commercial world.

Although Beethoven struggled against deafness, some of his most important works were composed during the last 10 years when he lost his hearing. On March 26, 1827 at aged 56, Ludwig van Beethoven died, but his legacy exists today through his music.

Name:   Ludwig  Van Beethoven
Born:   16 December 1770
Star Sign: Sagittarius
Died:   26 March 1827
Birthplace: Bonn,
Country: Germany
Johann van Beethoven
Maria Magdalena van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven, was baptized on December 17, 1770, at Bonn, so traditionally he was born 16 December, the day before he was baptized. His father, Johann van Beethoven, was a piano and violin teacher and a talented tenor. His mother, Maria Magdalena van Beethoven,was a kind and gentle person. The Beethoven family consisted of seven children but only three boys survived, of whom Ludwig was the eldest.

From a young child, Ludwig showed great musical potential. At the age of four, his father taught him to play the piano and violin. But, his father, an alcoholic, was overbearing and abusive. He often pulled young Ludwig out of bed in the middle of the night to perform for his drinking companions and Ludwig would suffer beatings if he protested.

Early Connections
At the age of seven, young Beethoven performed his first public concert in his hometown of Bonn. In 1780, aged ten, he left school to study music, notably the organ and composition under the renowned court organist, Christian Gottlob Neefe. At twelve years old, Beethoven published his first composition - a set of piano variations by classical composer Dressler.

Prince Maximillian Franze was aware of Beethoven music talent, and in 1787, arranged for Beethoven to go to Vienna and meet Mozart to further his musical education. However, a letter called Beethoven back to Bonn as his beloved mother Maria was dying - the only person he had a strong loving relationship with. She died of tuberculosis, aged 40 on July 17, 1787.

First compositions
Five years later in 1792, Beethoven returned to Vienna to pursue his musical education. At Vienna, the talented musician took lessons with Haydn, then with Albrechisberger and Salieri. He captured the attention Vienna with his virtuosity and his improvisations on piano.

Beethoven would go on to dedicate many of his early sonatas to his teacher Haydn and ultimately symbolized the bridge between the Classical and Romantic periods.

European Tour
In 1794, Beethoven composed Opus 1, the Trios for Piano. The following year he made his first public performance at Vienna - where each musician played his own work. In Vienna’s social circles, he was respected for his music and pianistic talent. Beethoven toured - Prague, Dresden, Leipzig, and Berlin, before leaving for a concert in Budapest.

But Beethoven realized that he was going deaf, and this started to change his outlook dramatically. A love interest with Countess Giulietta Guicciardi, temporarily lifted his spirits and he dedicated the ‘Moonlight’ Sonata to her. As he continued to compose furiously, his deafness and overall decline in health became a serious preoccupation.

Heiligenstadt Testament
In Vienna, Beethoven made numerous acquaintances and supporters. The musical and aristocratic world admired the young composer although at times would became angry but always with honorable amends afterwards. Beethoven's talent excused his excessive, impulsive behavior.

In 1801, Beethoven wrote of his deafness in a letter to a friend. Then he traveled to Heiligenstadt in the hope that his hearing would improve. With no improvement, Beethoven wrote of his despair and suicidal thoughts to his brothers. His letter became known as the 'Heiligenstadt Testament'.

Eroica & Fidelio
Realizing his hearing was getting worse and wanting to explore more musical domains, Beethoven threw himself into his greatest music - Sonatas for Piano (notably The Storm, Opus 31), the second and the third symphonies; the Eroica and many more.

In 1804, when Napoleon proclaimed himself as Emperor, Beethoven tore up the front page of his Third 'Eroica' Symphony which was dedicated to him. On April 7th, 1805, the Eroica symphony was played for the first time. He also finished his only written opera, Leonore, which he re-named, Fidelio.

Heights of Composition & Productivity
In the years that followed, Beethoven's creative activities became intense. He composed many symphonies, among which were - the Pastoral, the Coriolan Overture and the famous Letter for Elise. He took on many students including the Archbishop Rudolph, the brother of the emperor who became a close friend and later one of his benefactors.

From the Spring of 1806 through to 1808, Beethoven’s productivity reached historic proportions. Three string quartets; the 'Appassionata sonata'; 'the Fourth Symphony'; 'the Violin concerto' and most of 'the Fourth Piano Concerto' were all composed during this period.

Ninth Symphony
In 1814, Beethoven produced more works, specifically for the nobility of Europe and made his last public appearances as a pianist. By 1817, Beethoven was completely deaf, then began a period of prodigious and brilliant composition. For the next seven years, Beethoven composed four piano sonatas - 'the Missa solemnis'; 'the Diabelli Variations' and one of the most famous pieces of music ever written, his 'Ninth Symphony'

At the height of his fame, Beethoven's brother Carl died, and stated in his will that Beethoven was to be the sole guardian of his nine year old son Karl.

His Final Years
Embroiled in a bitter and prolonged battle with his sister-in-law over the custody of his nephew, Karl, this took a toll on Beethoven's work and health. Suffering from declining health, Beethoven retreated to a property owned by his brother Johann to rest.

It was here that he wrote some of his last compositions: the String Quartet in F Major Op. 135 and the Grosse Fuge. Beethoven returned to Vienna. But, on 26 March 1827, Beethoven passed away surrounded by his closest friends. He left his entire estate to his nephew, Karl.

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany, to Johann and Maria Beethoven. He was a musically gifted child. Beethoven slowly lost his hearing and ultimately focus his efforts on composing alone. He never married, but was a guardian to his nephew Karl who became a problem which influenced his work and health. Ludwig Beethoven, died on March 26, 1827, but his legacy lives on through his music.

Before composing, Beethoven immersed his head in cold water with the aim of being musically inspired.

Beethoven was known for his improvising (before he lost his hearing). Composer Johann Baptist Cramer, told his students that if you haven’t heard Beethoven improvise, you haven’t heard improvisation.

His deafness probably caused by a disease he had suffered from as a child like typhus, smallpox, etc. He began to hear constant buzzing at age 27.

The Moonlight Sonata was a hit from the start, dedicated to Beethoven’s pupil and love interest Julie Guicciardi.

Beethoven hated giving piano lessons unless they were for exceptionally talented students or attractive young women of whatever talent.

Beethoven always had to work hard to ensure a comfortable living by giving piano lessons, writing work commissioned by wealthy Viennese residents, and publishing his own music.

In his early 30s, Beethoven started losing his hearing and by 1819, he was completely deaf, but composed some of his most renowned works during that time.

Having left school at age 11 to help with household income, Beethoven never learned how to multiply or divide.

In Vienna, 17-year-old Beethoven was scheduled to perform for the talented Mozart who was generally unimpressed with other musicians. Mozart walked out of the room saying, “Keep your eyes on him—someday he’ll give the world something to talk about.”

Beethoven died during a thunderstorm at age 56. His friend compared the occasion to the composer’s symphonies with “crashes that sound like hammering on the portals of Fate.”

"To play without passion is inexcusable!"

"Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life."

"Music is a higher revelation than philosophy."

"I wish you music to help with the burdens of life ,and to help you release your happiness to others."

"Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman."

"Nothing is more intolerable than to have to admit to yourself your own errors."

"An artist is someone who has learned to trust in himself."

"Life would be flat without music. It is the background to all I do. It speaks to the heart in its own special way like nothing else."

"What is to reach the heart must come from above; if it does not come from thence, it will be nothing but notes, body without spirit."

"Love demands all, and has a right to all."


Ludwig van Beethoven died on 26 March 1827, aged 56, following a prolonged illness. His funeral was held on 29 March 1827 at the parish church in Alsergrund. Thousands lined the streets for the funeral procession and theaters were closed.

Many notable artists participated in the funeral procession as pallbearers or torch bearers, including Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Franz Grillparzer, Carl Czerny, and Franz Schubert. Beethoven, was buried in the cemetery at Währing, although his remains was later moved in 1888 to Vienna's Zentralfriedhof.

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