Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven (/ˈlʊdvɪɡ væn ˈbeɪt.hoʊvən/; German pronunciation: [ˈluːtvɪç fan ˈbeːt.hoːfən] ( listen); baptized 17 December 1770 – 26 March 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. Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire, Beethoven moved to Vienna in his early 20s, studying with Joseph Haydn and quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. His hearing began to deteriorate in his late twenties, yet he continued to compose, conduct, and perform, even after becoming completely deaf. Beethoven was the grandson of a musician of Flemish origin named Lodewijk van Beethoven (1712–73) who moved at the age of twenty to Bonn. Lodewijk (Ludwig is the German cognate of Dutch Lodewijk) was employed as a bass singer at the court of the Elector of Cologne, eventually rising to become Kapellmeister (music director).

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