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Hey Kids, Meet Ludwig van Beethoven | Composer Biography

from the Hey Kid's Meet the Composer Index



Hey Kids, Meet Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven (Baptized Dec 16, 1770-1827) German Classical/Romantic Era Composer

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany in 1770, to Johann van Beethoven and Maria Magdalena Keverich. Although Beethoven's exact birth date is not known, his family celebrated it on December 16. Ludwig's first musical instruction came from his father Johann who was said to have been a harsh instructor. Johann later asked his friend, Tobias Pfeiffer, to teach his son. It seems that the harsh treatment continued, as Johann and his friend would come home late on occasion to pull young Ludwig from his bed to practice until morning.

Ludwig's talent was recognized early on, and by 1778 he was learning to play the organ and viola in addition to his piano studies. His most important teacher in Bonn was Christian Gottlob Neefe, a Court organist. It was Neefe who helped Beethoven publish his first piece of music.

In 1787, young Beethoven decided to travel to Vienna, hoping to meet and study composition with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. It is not clear if he succeeded in meeting or studying with Mozart. By his twenties, Beethoven began to suffer from hearing loss. He did, however, continue to compose, conduct and perform, even after he was completely deaf. One story recalls that after conducting the premiere of his Ninth Symphony he had to be turned around to see the overwhelming applause of the audience. When he heard nothing, he began to weep.

Ludwig van Beethoven's most popular pieces are his Fifth Symphony, Für Elise for piano solo, and his Ninth Symphony, which includes the melody Ode to Joy. He is remembered as an important composer in the transitional period between the Classical Era and Romantic Era in music and continues to be one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.


Watch a Video

Watch a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 for orchestra.




More Stuff...

Piano Books

Beethoven | Meet the Composer Series Piano Book, Vol. 1

Sheet Music

Beethoven | Piano Book for Easy/Intermediate Piano
Beethoven's Fifth for Easy/Level 2 Piano Solo
Ode to Joy for Easy/Level 2 Piano Solo
Ode to Joy for Easy Piano - Play and Learn™ Series
Für Elise for Intermediate/Level 3 Piano Solo
Ode to Joy for Intermediate/Level 4 Piano Solo
Ode to Joy for Intermediate Piano - Play and Learn™ Series
Minuet in G for Intermediate/Level 4 Piano Solo
Moonlight Sonata for Piano Solo by Beethoven
Moonlight Sonata for Piano Solo by Beethoven - Play and Learn™
Ecossaise for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
Pathetique Sonata for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
Rage Over a Lost Penny for Intermediate/Level 5 Piano Solo
Für Elise for Easy Flute Solo
Ode to Joy for Beginner Flute Solo
Für Elise for Easy Clarinet Solo
Ode to Joy for Beginner Clarinet Solo
Ode to Joy for Beginner Trumpet Solo
Ode to Joy for Beginner Trombone Solo
Ode to Joy for Beginner Violin Solo
Ode to Joy for Beginner Viola Solo
Ode to Joy for Beginner Cello Solo

Worksheets

Beethoven Word Search
Meet the Composer Job Application Worksheet
Beethoven Multiplication-Connect-the-Dot
Beethoven Coloring Page

Bulletin Boards

Beethoven | Composer of the Month Bulletin Board Pack

Lesson Plans

Ludwig van Beethoven | Homeschool Music Lesson Plans