Ludwig Van Beethoven: Biography, Facts & Music

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught history, and has an MA in Islamic law/finance. He has since founded his own financial advice firm, Newton Analytical.

While many people have heard of Beethoven, and even recognize the introduction to ''Symphony Number 9'' or the ''Ode to Joy'', few know must the depths of this particular composer's influence on Classical music. Learn about his life and his music and test your knowledge with a quiz!


Ludwig van Beethoven was born in 1770 in the city of Bonn, quite some distance from the musical epicenter of Europe, Vienna. That said, he was so good at music that at an early age he was allowed to go to Vienna to study under the masters, namely Mozart. However, Beethoven would never meet Mozart, since he was soon recalled to Bonn to be at the side of his dying mother. Despite the fact that Beethoven would never meet Mozart, he soon became the student of one of Mozart's best friends, Joseph Haydn.

Unlike Haydn and Mozart, however, times had changed in Vienna. Aristocrats and nobility were less likely to keep a composer on staff full time because the expense had become unbearable for many. Instead, Beethoven found himself working privately, composing pieces freelance for various individuals who wanted to purchase his work. In doing so, Beethoven soon became quite famous throughout the city and was sought out by many for his talents.

A threat to these talents had emerged by the time that Beethoven was in his twenties. A horrible ear ache kept getting worse, and soon doctors told him that he would lose his hearing. By 1814 he was deaf, which for any other composer would have been the end of his career. However, Beethoven was not any other composer and he kept producing more work.

The deafness took a heavy toil of Beethoven, who admitted to having thoughts of suicide since he could no longer enjoy music himself. However, he said that he still had more music in his head to write, and could not rob the world of that. Ultimately, Beethoven died in 1827.



Beethoven's music is still remembered today as among the greatest produced in all of Western history. Some of his greatest works are described below.

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