Author of the painting: Joseph Karl Stieler
Bonn, Holy Roman Empire, December 1770-Vienna, Austrian Empire, March 26, 1827
Prolific and brilliant composer, Ludwig van Beethoven has an important place among the greatest musicians in history. Since childhood he showed talent for music and in his youth he studied with Antonio Salieri, Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and Joseph Haydn.
He offered his first recital in 1778 and at age 11 he published his first composition, which was a set of variations for piano. Later he settled in Vienna and built himself a good reputation as a pianist. He debuted publicly in 1795, possibly with one of his piano concertos. In this early period he also published his three piano trios, Opus 1, and three piano sonatas, Opus 2.
In 1799 he produced the Sonata Pathétique and in 1801 Moonlight Sonata (Mondscheinsonate). During the latter year he also composed the opera The Creatures of Prometheus (Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus), a ballet that became very popular. He characterized his style by the depth of feeling and originality with respect to other compositions of his time and was the first to introduce the scherzo instead of the customary minuet, in his Second Symphony. He completed the first period with a series of six string quartets.
From 1802 he was affected by deafness and walked into the middle period of his production, rapidly creating works of great strength and emotion, like his Third Symphony, originally called Eroica, proclaimed as one of the greatest and most sublime musical works. At this stage he also composed the opera Fidelio, five string quartets, seven piano sonatas, six string sonatas and 72 songs, among others.
Towards the end of his life he managed to consolidate his figure permanently. Although afflicted with deafness, stomach ailments and anger outbursts, he composed his best works in his late period, such as Missa Solemnis and the critically acclaimed Ninth Symphony, 1824.
His compositions include, among others, nine symphonies, 16 string quartets and 35 piano sonatas. The quality, beauty, depth and emotion of his music has allowed him to transcend through the centuries and is proof of an extraordinary genius.