"He will give the world something worth listening to." Mozart supposedly said these words upon meeting Beethoven at the age of 17. Mozart was particularly impressed with Beethoven's ability to improvise and perform pieces on the piano.
Born in Bonn, Germany in 1770, Beethoven's father and grandfather were both professional musicians. He began music lessons with his father when he was only 4. Beethoven published his first musical composition at 11. As he developed his own musical style, Beethoven became known as a composer who often protested against convention.
In 1792, Beethoven moved to Vienna to study with Joseph Haydn, who moved to England two years later. It was also during this time that Beethoven started to become deaf. When Beethoven's ninth symphony was performed in 1824, he was so deaf that a friend had to turn him around for him to see the enthusiastic applause of the audience. Beethoven died in Vienna on March 26, 1827.
Beethoven is best known for his nine symphonies. He also wrote
one opera, an oratorio, two Masses, as well as several sonatas
and concertos. Most piano students are familiar with Fur Elise
which Beethoven wrote for one of his students. The inspiring last
movement of Beethoven's ninth symphony is choral music set to
Schiller's poem "Ode to Joy." It was played during the
Chinese student protest in 1989 and when Germany's Berlin Wall
came down in 1990.
Bye, L. Dean. Student's Guide to the Great Composers. Pacific,
Montana: Mel Bay Publications, Inc., 1988.
Wechsberg, Joseph. The Pantheon Story of Music for Young People. New York: Random House, Inc., 1968.