Ludwig van Beethoven
German Composer
Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany. He studied in Vienna under Mozart and Haydn. In Vienna he first made his reputation as a pianist and teacher, and he became famous quickly.

At this time he composed many of his most popular works such as the Fifth symphony, the Emperor Concerto, the Eroica and Pastoral symphonies, and his only opera Fidelio.

Beethoven developed a completely original style of music, reflecting his sufferings and joys. His work forms a peak in the development of tonal music and is one of the crucial evolutionary developments in the history of music.

Before his time, composers wrote works for religious services, and to entertain people. But people listened to Beethoven's music for its own sake. As a result, he made music more independent of social, or relgious purposes.

About 1800, he discovered that he was slowly becoming deaf. By 1820, when he was almost totally deaf, Beethoven composed his greatest works. These include the last five piano sonatas, the Missa solemnis, the Ninth Symphony, with its choral finale, and the last five string quartets.

In the fall of 1826 Beethoven caught a serious cold, which developed into pneumonmia. He died on March 26, 1827.

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