Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), German composer. Beethoven's early life in Bonn was made miserable by his father, who wanted him to be a profitable child prodigy. He was taught first by his father, then Neefe, before moving to Vienna at age 21 to study with haydn. He was a virtuoso pianist, although in his late 20s increasing deafness led him to concentrate on composing. His legacy includes nione symphonies, five piano concertos, a violin concerto, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets, the great mass 'Missa solemnis' and the opera 'Fidelio'. He is regarded as a giant of the classical tradition, although his work is also a transition toward the romanticism of the 19th century. This is most clearly seen in the symphonies. He died in 1827 after a long illness, although the exact nature of this is unknown.
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