Ludwig van Beethoven was born in 1770 in Bonn, Germany, to Johann and Maria Magdalena van Beethoven. His father was also a musician and had dreams of young Ludwig becoming the next Mozart. At the age of 17 Beethoven made his first trip to Vienna but upon learning his Mother was gravely ill he immediately returned home. It was not until 5 years later that he again traveled to Vienna, this time making it his home. In Vienna Beethoven studied under another of classical music's great composers, Haydn, as well as Schenk, Albrechtsberger and Salieri. Beethoven quickly became successful as a piano virtuoso and his performances brought him patronage from Vienna's aristocracy. Around 1802 Beethoven realized that he was losing his hearing but continued to compose and attempted to keeps his impairment a secret. By 1812 he had become severely depressed over his hearing loss and failed marital hopes. In 1815 Beethoven was involved in custody case over his late brothers son which he eventually won. Towards the end of Beethoven's life the Italian opera had become popular and he found his music had become out of style. Beethoven died in Vienna in 1827 with over 10,000 people in attendance at his funeral.
For more information about Beethoven see the Books and Films section for additional resources.