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Ludwig van Beethoven Biography

Approximate Birthdate: December 16,1770
Died: 1827

Even if you can't name any of his work, there's a good chance you've heard Ludwig Van Beethoven's music. He's been dead for more than a hundred years but his classical tunes are still considered to be some of the best.

The Early Years Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig Van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany. His dad and grandpa were both musicians who passed along their talent. Beethoven gave his first public appearance (playing piano) when he was eight and had his first piece of music published by the time he was 12 years old.

Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven Meets Mozart

When Beethoven was 17 he took off for Vienna. He even auditioned as a composition student for Mozart while he was there. Beethoven's trip was cut short when he found out his mother was dying. He quickly returned home. Five years later Beethoven went back to Vienna to live. In a few years he had earned a name for himself as a pianist and was playing for the rich and famous. They supported him and in return, Beethoven dedicated his music to his audience.

Ludwig van Beethoven - The Quiet Years

When Beethoven was 28 years old, he noticed his hearing was going. He was very upset by this - so much so that he thought of ending his life. Beethoven's social life was affected the most. He is said to have had sudden bursts of anger, insulting those around him. As his hearing became worse, Beethoven went into seclusion from both the public and his friends. Eventually, he was left completely deaf. He only communicated with visitors and trusted friends by writing.

Ludwig van Beethoven - The Final Years

Being hearing impaired didn't stop Beethoven from writing music but life wasn't easy for him. Beethoven was seriously ill. He moved more than 52 times during his final years. Beethoven also took it upon himself to get custody of his nephew Karl. He won but Beethoven pushed his nephew too hard. He tried to mold Karl into what he wanted but it didn't happen. When the famous composer died at the age of 56, almost 30,000 people attended his funeral. Unlike some other composers of that time, Beethoven enjoyed recognition prior to his death.

Have Your Say

What do you think of Beethoven's music? Was he the best composer or just one of many talented musicians?

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Most Famous Beethoven Symphony?

  • Symphony No. 5 in C minor.
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