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

By Karen Harris
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.