Beethoven was born in the city of Bonn, Germany in 1770. He was surrounded at an early age by music, as both his father and grandfather were local musicians. However, he soon found that Bonn was too small a pond for a great musician like himself. At the age of 22, Beethoven made a move to Vienna, the European centre for music. He put himself under the tutelage of several prominent teachers, including the famous Haydn and the infamous Salieri. He also hoped to create a name for himself as both a concert pianist and a composer. Very quickly he gained the success that he sought in locating the aristocratic patrons who would support his musical career. It should be noted that Beethoven was the first composer to attempt and succeed freelance composing. Beethoven turned out to be a prolific composer.
He wrote 32 piano sonatas whose numbers included the famous Moonlight and the powerful Pathetique. He also wrote 18 string quartets and nine symphonies. Few music lovers can forget the four immortal opening notes of the Fifth Symphony. When asked about the inspiration for these powerful chords, Beethoven described them as, "how destiny knocks on the door." Beethoven`s deafness became complete in 1819, but instead of slowing the great composer, it seemed to aid his creative powers, developing, perhaps inspiring his style. Beethoven enjoyed popularity even in his own day, an unusual luxury for those composers who we later come to know as "great".
The day of his death in 1827 was such a tumultuous one that schools closed for the day, and the military was called out to control the bereaved Austrian public. The Austrian people realized that they had lost one of the greatest musicians of all time. Fortunately, the legacy of his life`s work remains behind as a reminder of that revolutionary composer, Ludwig van Beethoven.