Ludwig van Beethoven Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1770 – 1827 *** Full Name: Ludwig van Beethoven *** Date of Birth remains unknown (Birthday): He was baptised on December 17, 1770 *** Place of Birth: Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Electorate of Cologne *** Family background: His father was Johann van Beethoven *** Early life and childhood: Ludwig van Beethoven grew up and spent the majority of his childhood in Bonn *** Education: Ludwig van Beethoven began his musical education at home with his father *** Ludwig van Beethoven died on March 26, 1827 ***
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 1: Ludwig van Beethoven's date of birth is unrecorded. His baptism took place on December 17, 1770. Typically, during these times, babies were baptised within 24 hours of their birth. Therefore, Ludwig van Beethoven may have been born on December 16, 1770.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 2: He was a German composer whose incredible compositions led him to become one of the greatest, if not the greatest, composer in the history of the world.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 3: His most famous compositions include nine symphonies, thirty-two piano sonatas, five piano concertos, sixteen string quartets, one violin concerto, an opera, Fidelio and the Missa solemnis.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 4: He was born in Bonn, Electorate of Cologne, a principality of the Holy Roman Empire, to Johann van Beethoven and Maria Magdalena van Beethoven. His father was a cruel man, he was a court singer who suffered from alcoholism. His grandfather was called Kapellmeister Ludwig van Beethoven and he was a musician that Ludwig was able to admire. He had two surviving brothers called Caspar and Johann.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 5: His father taught him music from a young age. Johann van Beethoven was a shamefully cruel man who regularly beat Ludwig van Beethoven, especially when he made mistakes. His treatment was so harsh that he often locked the child in the cellar.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 6: His musical talent shone from an early age. He could play a number of instruments including the violin, piano, clavier and organ. He struggled academically, he wasn't good at reading, writing or mathematics. He may have been mildly dyslexic. Ludwig van Beethoven himself once said 'Music comes to me more readily than words.'
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 7: He left school when he was ten years old to pursue his musical studies. He was taught by Christian Gottlob Neefe, the Court Organist. Two years later, at the age of twelve, Ludwig van Beethoven had produced his first piano composition based on a Dressler theme, a classical composer.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 8: Despite his young age, he became the Assistant Court Organist in 1784. He had to support his family financially as his father's alcoholism prevented him from doing so.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 9: The Court recognized Ludwig van Beethoven's musical abilities, they sent him to continue his studies in Vienna. Records cannot conclude whether or not he met or studied with Mozart. He was only in Vienna for a few weeks as he had to return home to care for his mother who had fallen ill.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 10: He returned to Vienna in 1792 to continue his musical studies with Joseph Haydn who taught him how to play piano. Ludwig van Beethoven was particularly good at improvisation and proved to be a highly skilled pianist. He also studied with Antonio Salieri and Johann Albrechtsberger.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 11: His reputation quickly grew amongst the Viennese people. The aristocracy helped him financially and gave him somewhere to live. On March 29, 1795, he gave a public performance in Vienna. It is not certain which musical pieces he performed that evening.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 12: He composed and published many pieces during his early years in Vienna including his Symphony No. 1 in C major which although brought him fame across Europe, he grew to despise, Opus 1 which consisted of three piano trios, Six String Quartets, and The Creatures of Prometheus.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 13: He admired Napoleon, the Emperor of France, for his power and abilities. He released a profound piece of music known famously as the Eroica Symphony (Symphony No. 3) in honour of the leader just shortly after he became Emperor.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 14: He became more and more isolated and lonely during the early 1800s as he began losing his hearing. At first he didn't like to admit that he was going deaf, however, quite quickly he was unable to hear people at all. This affected his social life dramatically, to the point where he stopped going to social functions entirely.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 15: He wrote a letter to a friend called Franz Wegeler during which he admitted that his deafness was causing him severe misery: "I must confess that I lead a miserable life. For almost two years I have ceased to attend any social functions, just because I find it impossible to say to people: I am deaf. If I had any other profession, I might be able to cope with my infirmity; but in my profession it is a terrible handicap."
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 16: He made some of his greatest compositions of all time during these dark, miserable years when he suffered almost entirely from deafness. It was incredible that he was able to do so, and from 1803 to 1812, he composed 72 songs in total, 1 opera, 4 solo concerti, 6 symphonies, 5 string quartets, 6 string sonatas, 7 piano sonatas, 5 sets of piano variations, 4 trios, 4 overtures, 2 sextets.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 17: Some of his most well known compositions include the Kreutzer and Moonlight Sonata. He completed his final Ninth Symphony in 1824. The incredible piece has become his biggest achievement and can perhaps be classed as the most famous piece of music in the history of the world.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 18: During his lifetime, he never married or had any children. He was fond of one woman but she was already married, her name was Antonie Brentano. Ludwig van Beethoven wrote her a long letter in which he declared his love for her.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 19: Although painfully shy, he was a bad tempered man who managed to fall out with most of his friends and family. He was paranoid, selfish and greedy, and lived a lonely, miserable life as an adult.
Ludwig van Beethoven Fact 20: He died at the age of 56 on March 29, 1827 in Vienna, after being bedridden for some time. His liver was damaged, possibly as a result of heavy alcohol consumption. Approximately 20,000 people attended his funeral procession on March 29, 1827. He was buried in Vienna in the Währing cemetery.
Influence and Legacy: Why was the person so important, what is their legacy and what influence or effect have their work had on our lives? Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the best musical composers that the world has ever seen. He composed many pieces during his lifetime, many of which he created during his later years in Vienna when he suffered almost entirely from deafness.