Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) was a German composer and pianist. His symphonies and other works are among the greatest and most popular classical compositions ever written. Beethoven started composing in the classical style but he gradually developed a romantic style that influenced many other, later composers. Tragically for a musician, Beethoven went deaf during his lifetime and almost completely lost his hearing. This stopped him from performing his music in public, but he could still hear music in his head which he could then write down.
Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany on 16th December 1770. His father taught him the piano and soon realised that his son was musically highly gifted. Beethoven composed his first published music, a set of keyboard pieces, in 1783, when he was only 12. He then wrote three piano sonatas, which he dedicated to the Elector (ruler) of Cologne. The Elector recognized his talent and encouraged his musical career.
Beethoven travelled to Vienna in 1787 and may have met Mozart there—but this is not known for certain. We do know he studied with, and befriended, Joseph Haydn.
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