Ludwig van Beethoven was born around December 16, 1770 (no one knows the exact date), and was a German composer and pianist. He is one of the most admired composers in history, even after his death. Today, we are going to celebrate the late musician with some intriguing insights and amusing facts.
Ludwig van Beethoven was a composer and pianist born in Bonn, a city in Germany. From a young age, Beethoven displayed an interest in music, and his father took it upon himself to teach the young musician about music. He later would be taught by composer and conductor Christian Gottlob Neefe. At the age of 21, Beethoven moved to Vienna, where he studied composition and gained a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. He soon became a composer for Karl Alois, Prince Lichnowsky — where he created his three Opus one piano trios in 1795.
In 1800, Beethoven premiered his first major orchestral work, and his first set of string quartets was published in 1801. Throughout this period, Beethoven’s hearing was deteriorating — however, he continued to conduct his Third and Fifth Symphonies in 1804 and 1808, respectively. His last piano concerto, dedicated to his frequent patron Archduke Rudolf of Austria, premiered in 1811, without Beethoven as a soloist. By 1814, Beethoven was almost completely deaf and gave up performing in public.
Between 1819 and 1823, he composed ‘Missa Solemnis,’ and between 1822 and 1824, he created his final Symphony, ‘No.9.’ Soon after, Beethoven fell ill and after several months of being bedridden, he died in 1827 from suspected lead poisoning. He is still one of the most highly-rated composers of all time, and his works rank among the most performed in the classical music repertoire. To keep his name alive, many honors have been bestowed upon him, including the Beethoven House — a museum and his birth home, and the Beethoven Monument in Bonn.
He moves to Vienna and studies composition and gains a reputation as a virtuoso pianist.
He premieres his first major orchestral work.
He is almost completely deaf and gives up performing in public.
He creates his last Symphony, ‘No.9.’
He dies from suspected lead poisoning.
Why We Love Ludwig van Beethoven
He changed music forever
Beethoven was a rule-breaker in music. He gave much emotion to his compositions, thus making way for the Romantic era in music.
He never gave up
Despite Beethoven going deaf, he continued to create music. He even had to be told to turn around when receiving a standing ovation as he could not hear the audience.
He was extremely passionate
He was passionate about his work, so much so that when he didn't feel the audience was listening to his composing intently, he would stop performing altogether. He truly was the greatest of his time.
5 Surprising Facts
His name lives on in space
The third-largest crater on Mercury is named in his honor.
His exact birth date is unknown
His exact birth date is unknown — however, he was baptized on December 17, 1770, and as law, babies at the time were baptized within 24 hours of birth, so it is highly likely that he was born on December 16.
He was unlucky in love
He fell for several women during his time, but many were out of his league (wealthier than him) or already married.
Beethoven would dunk his head in cold water before composing or sleeping — which also led many to believe that was his cause of deafness.
After taking his nephew Karl to family, Beethoven and his brother had a heated fight, prompting Beethoven to return to Vienna on a two-day wagon ride, where he fell ill and never recovered — very suspicious, we think!
Ludwig van Beethoven FAQs
Did Beethoven and Mozart meet?
Yes, they did meet when Beethoven was just 16 years old and Mozart was 30.
What does “Für Elise” mean?
The words “Für Elise” mean “for Elise” in German.
What songs did Beethoven write when he was deaf?
He wrote the last five piano sonatas, the ‘Missa Solemnis,’ the Symphony ‘No.9’ with its choral finale, and the last five string quartets.
Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthday dates