Ludwig van Beethoven: Things You Didn't Know About the World's Greatest Composer

By | December 5, 2019

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German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), one of the most recognized and influential of western composers. [Cigaretten-Bilderdienst, Altona-Bahrenfeld, Hamburg, Germany, 1936]. Artist Unknown. (Photo by The Print Collector via Getty Im

German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven is often called the greatest musical genius in history. Even those of us who don't know Strauss from Stravinsky can hum the opening bars to Beethoven's "Fifth Symphony," and he's famous for the tragic irony of losing his hearing. There is a lot more to this complex genius than you learned middle school music class, however. Let's look at the things you didn't know about the world's greatest composer, Ludwig van Beethoven. 

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Ludwig van Beethoven was a child prodigy. (

A Musical Prodigy With An Alcoholic Father

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in the German city of Bonn on December 16, 1770 to Johann and Maria Magdalena van Beethoven. Little Wiggy was named after his grandfather, who was a prominent musician, although Johann, try as he might, was average at best. He was employed as a court singer, but he was likely kept on mostly because he was a fun party guy, especially when he got drinking. Thus, when Johann van Beethoven saw a glimmer of musical talent in his young son, he sought to turn to lad into the great musician he could not be himself.