(Posted by Tia Baum, age 12)
“German composer who was the dominant musical figure of the nineteenth century-particularly famous for his nine symphonies.”
Ludwig von Beethoven
Born in Bonn, Germany, 1770
Died in Vienna, Austria, 1827
-The “Beethoven House” in Bonn is where Beethoven was born.
-Beethoven started playing piano before is 4th birthday.
-His father made him get up in the middle of the night to plays for his friends that he met at bars.
-By the age of twelve, Beethoven was already playing in court as an organist. This was his first paying job, which supported his family when his alcoholic father could not.
-After a while, he was known as “the greatest pianist of all time”. His listeners cried because the music was so beautiful. When Beethoven caught them crying, he laughed in their faces “You fools” he would say.
-Beethoven insulted everyone. Once, for an overweight violinist, he wrote a song called “Praise to the Fat One”. On his brother’s business card – which should have had “Johann van Beethoven, Landowner” written on it – Beethoven scribbled “Ludwig van Beethoven, Brain Owner”
-Once, Beethoven said this to a prince who was planning on investing in him; “There are and there will be thousands of princes. There is only one Beethoven.”
-One day a police man arrested him because he couldn’t believe that the “great Beethoven” looked as he did. He let his hair grow thick and wild. Beethoven also couldn’t be bothered with clean or stylish clothing.
-Sometimes he worked all night. To keep himself awake, he would pour pictures of ice cold water over his head and flood the floor (leaking through the ceiling and particularly annoying the neighbours down stairs).
-Beethoven started to go deaf in his late 20’s.
-He continued to compose and conduct even after he was completely deaf. When conducting he would leap into the air during loud parts and crouch at the floor during soft parts. Once, a conductor on stage who was helping him had to make him aware of the roaring applause at the end of one of his concerts.
-Unlike Mozart, he was famous when he died on March 29, 1827 at the age of 57. 20,000 people came to his funeral in Vienna.
Krull, Kathleen, and Kathryn Hewitt. “Ludwig van Beethoven.” Lives of the musicians: good times, bad times (and what the neighbours thought). San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993. 24-29. Print.