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Ludwig Van Beethoven's Biography

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Ludwig van Beethoven was born December 16, 1770, in Bonn, German. was a German pianist and composer widely considered the greatest of all time. Beethoven’s personal life was marked by a struggle against deafness, and some of his most important works were composed during the last 10 years of his life. Beethoven died March 26, 1827, in Vienna Austria. He died at the age of 56. The birth of Ludwig van Beethoven was around December 16, 1770, in the city of Bonn in the Electorate of Cologne. Although no one knows the actual date of Ludwig’s birth he was baptized on December 17, 1770. The law and custom of where Beethoven was born babies were baptized within twenty-four of their birth, December 16 was most likely the day Beethoven was born. Beethoven mistakenly believed that he was born two years later, in 1772, and he stubbornly insisted on the incorrect date even when presented with official papers that proved beyond any reasonable doubt that 1770 was his true birth year. Beethoven had two younger brothers Caspar, born in 1774, and Johann, born in 1776.

Beethoven’s parents were Beethoven’s mother, Maria Magdalena van Beethoven and his father Johann van Beethoven, was a mediocre court singer better known for his alcoholism than any of his musical ability. However, Beethoven’s grandfather, godfather, and namesake, KapellmeisterLudwig van Beethoven was Ludwig’s most famous and successful musician and was a never-ending source of pride for young Beethoven. Between the birth of Beethoven’s brothers, his father started teaching Beethoven to play music with an extraordinary rigor and brutality that affected him for the rest of his life. On a daily basis, Beethoven would be locked into the cellar and was deprived of sleep so he can spend extra hours on practice. Ludwig studied the violin and clavier with his father and took additional lessons from the organist around the town. Whether in spite of or because of his father’s methods, Beethoven was a talented musician.

In 1781, at the age of 10, Beethoven quit school to study music full time with Christian Gottlob Neefe. When Beethoven was 12 years old he published his first composition. By 1784, Beethoven’s father’s alcoholism worsening and his voice decaying, his father was no longer able to support his family. Beethoven requested an official appointment as Assistant Court Organist. Despite how young Beethoven was, his request was accepted and Beethoven was put on the court payroll with a modest annual salary of 150 florins. When the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II in 1790, Beethoven at the age of 19 received the honor of composing a musical memorial in his honor. For unknown reasons the piece Beethoven made was never played and the people thought that Beethoven was able to perform the task. At the same time as Beethoven was composing some of his most important works, he was struggling with the shocking and terrible fact, one that he tried desperately trying to hide he was going deaf. Beethoven revealed in a heart-wrenching letter to his friend Franz Wegeler that he was going deaf. Beethoven died on March 26, 1827, at the age of 56.

An autopsy revealed that the immediate cause of death was post-hepatitic cirrhosis of the liver. The autopsy also provided clues to the origins of his deafness. With Beethoven’s quick temper, chronic diarrhea and deafness are consistent with arterial disease, a theory traces that Beethoven’s deafness to contracting typhus in the summer of 1796. Scientists were analyzing a remaining fragment of Beethoven’s skull noticed high levels of lead and hypothesized lead poisoning as a potential cause of death.

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