Ludwig van Beethoven
1770 - 1827
German composer Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the most famous and influential composers of the Western art music tradition. He was born on December 17th 1770 in Bonn and displayed his musical talents at an early age whilst being taught by his father and Christian Gottlob Neefe. He eventually moved to Vienna in 1792, intending to study with Mozart and Joseph Haydn and whilst there, Beethoven quickly garnered a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. He resided in Vienna for the rest of his life. His hearing began to deteriorate as early as 1800 and by the last ten years of his life, he was almost completely deaf. He abandoned his conducting and playing careers, but continued to compose writing many of his most admired works during this period. The most famous parts of his output include 9 symphonies, 5 concertos for piano, 32 piano sonatas and 16 string quartets whilst his output also includes other chamber works, choral works (including his very popular Missa solemnis), an opera and songs. For many of his final months Beethoven stayed in his bed whilst many of his closer friends came to visit. He finally passed away on March 26th 1827 at the age of 56 during a thunderstorm. Allegedly, a friend who was present at the time of dead said that there was a peal of thunder at the moment he died.