Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the world’s most famous classical composers, influential in ushering in the Romantic era in Western music. Born in Bonn, Germany, in 1770, Beethoven was a prodigious young musician who was taught by his father and gave his first concert at the age of seven.
When he was 22 years old he moved to Vienna, capital of the musical world, where he studied under Haydn. Initially setting himself up as a performer, he began to compose and became famous for his amazing output of work, particularly for piano. During his lifetime he wrote 9 symphonies, 16 string quartets, 5 piano concertos and 32 piano sonatas as well as other orchestral, choral and chamber music works.
From the age of 26, Beethoven’s hearing began to deteriorate – he suffered from a form of tinnitus – which eventually led to him becoming completely deaf. Despite this, he continued to compose, perform and teach until his death in March 1827. His grave can be seen in the Zentralfriedhof (main cemetery) in Vienna.