van Beethoven (1770 – 1827) was a German
composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the
transition between the Classical and Romantic
eras in Western art music, he remains one of the
most famous and influential of all composers.
His Fifih Symphony remains one of the most
popular music works in the World.
Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate
of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire,
Beethoven displayed his musical talents at an
early age and was taught by his father Johann
van Beethoven and by composer and conductor
Christian Gottlob Neefe. At the age of 21 he
moved to Vienna, where he began studying
composition with Joseph Haydn and gained a
reputation as a virtuoso pianist. He lived in
Vienna until his death. By his late 20s his
hearing began to deteriorate, and by the last
decade of his life he was almost completely deaf.
In 1811 he gave up conducting and performing in
public but continued to compose; many of his
most admired works come from these last 15 years
of his life.
Beethoven composed in several musical genres and for a variety of instrument combinations. His works for symphony orchestra include nine symphonies (of which the Ninth Symphony includes a chorus), and about a dozen pieces of "occasional" music. He wrote seven concerti for one or more soloists and orchestra, as well as four shorter works that include soloists accompanied by orchestra. His only opera is Fidelio; other vocal works with orchestral accompaniment include two masses and a number of shorter works. His large body of compositions for piano includes 32 piano sonatas and numerous shorter pieces, including arrangements of some of his other works. Works with piano accompaniment include 10 violin sonatas, 5 cello sonatas, and a sonata for French horn, as well as numerous lieder. He also wrote a significant quantity of chamber music. In addition to 16 string quartets, he wrote five works for string quintet, seven for piano trio, five for string trio, and more than a dozen works for various combinations of wind instruments.