Born in Germany in 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven began playing the piano at a very young age. When only seventeen he journeyed to Vienna, the musical heart of Europe at that time, and made it his adopted city. There he studied classical music with Haydn, and would later have the opportunity to play for Mozart. The latter saw in him a prodigy bound to leave his mark on the world.
The artist, defined by his extraordinary talent, his excessive temperament and his indomitable personality, defied conventions. He pushed back the boundaries of his art by freeing himself from the historically somber and dramatic classical style, creating pieces of great emotional intensity and unbridled energy that embodied the upheavals of the era. In so doing he laid the groundwork for the romantic age in music, a passion-driven period at variance with the norms of his day.
The great tragedy of Beethoven’s life was his irrevocable loss of hearing, but that deafness did not prevent him from pursuing his art with love and devotion. A number of his most sublime works date from that period of his life. It is believed that he “heard” the music through the vibrations of the instruments.
His most widely-known compositions include the Hymn to Joy, the Moonlight Sonata, the Fifth Symphony, Für Elise, and so many others. Beethoven: an immense musician and composer, an undisputed pillar of the art of music who ranks with the very greatest in history.