Beethoven, Ludwig van

BORN 16 Dec 1770, Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen: Bonngasse 20 - DIED 26 Mar 1827, Wien: Schwarzspanierstrasse 15
GRAVE LOCATION Wien: Zentralfriedhof, Simmeringer Hauptstraße 234, Simmering (Gruppe 32 A, Nummer 29)

Ludwig van Beethoven was the son of Johann van Beethoven, a singer of the Hofkappelle in Bonn. His grandfather was the musician Ludwig van Beethoven (1712-1773) from Mechelen, who had moved to Bonn. His first music teacher was his father and Franz Anton Ries taught him the violin. Christian Gottlob Neefe taught him composition and he worked with him as assistant organist from 1782. He often visited the Von Breuning family where he gave piano lessons to the children and was cared for by the widowed Frau von Breuning. Here he met the medical student Franz Wegeler who became a friend for life. In 1787 his mother died and in 1789 his father was fired from the Court because of his alcoholism.

Late in 1790 Beethoven probably first met Joseph Haydn. In 1792 they met again in Bonn. Beethoven travelled to Vienna in November 1792 and Haydn became his teacher until 1794. Afterwards he was taught by Albrechtsberger and Salieri. In 1795 he gave his first public performance at the Burgtheater in Vienna. His close ties with noblemen soon enabled him to live as a free artist. He explored new musical paths with his symphonies and would influence a next generation of composers, among them Brahms. In 1794 he started having trouble hearing. In 1799 he was piano teacher to the daughters of Countess Anna Brunsvik. He fell in love with Josephine Brunsvik but she married the much older Joseph Count Deym. After Deym's sudden death in 1804 and he continued to see her afterwards.

After 1801 Beethoven's hearing problems worsened. He wanted to write a symphony based on Napoleon's career, but after Napoleon crowned himself emperor in 1804 he removed his name from the title page of the manuscript. When "Symphony No. 3" (also known as "Eroica") was performed in 1805 and it was seen as the end of Classicism and the beginning of Romanticism. He gave piano lessons to Archduke Rudolf of Austria, the son of Emperor Leopold II. He became friends with Rudolf and they met until 1824.

In 1808 Jérôme Bonaparte offered him a position as musical director in Kassel, but Archduke Rudolf, Prince Kinsky and Prince Lobkowitz managed to keep him in Vienna by offering him a substantial pension. In 1812 in Teplitz he wrote a long love letter to his 'immortal beloved' that he never sent to the recipient, whose identity is still unknown. Speculations have pointed at Antonie Brentano, Julie Guicciardi, Therese Malfatti and Josephine Brunsvik.

In 1815 Beethoven performed for the last time. He never went completely deaf and in his last years he could still hear low tones and loud sounds. After his death in 1827 the actor Heinrich Anschütz read a funeral speech written by Franz Grillparzer. Beethoven was buried at the Währinger Friedhof in Vienna. When that was closed in 1888 his remains were moved to the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna.

• Mother: Beethoven, Maria Magdalena

Related persons
• cooperated with Adamberger, Antonie
• was pupil of Albrechtsberger, Johann Georg
• was a friend of Anschütz, Heinrich
• knew Benedict, Julius
• was admired by Boito, Arrigo
• was visited by Boucher, Alexandre
• was sculpted by Bourdelle, Antoine
• was a friend of Brentano, Antonie
• knew Chézy, Helmina von
• was teacher of Czerny, Carl
• met Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von
• has a connection with Grillparzer, Franz
• was admired by Hanslick, Eduard
• met Haydn, Joseph
• met Hiller, Ferdinand
• was a friend of Hummel, Johann Nepomuk
• has a connection with Kreutzer, Rodolphe
• knew Lachner, Franz von
• met Liszt, Franz
• has a connection with Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix
• had work performed by Milder-Hauptmann, Anna
• was a friend of Reicha, Anton
• was pupil of Ries, Franz Anton
• was a friend of Röckel, Elisabeth
• was pupil of Salieri, Antonio
• was a friend of Spohr, Louis
• was visited by Stein, Matthäus Andreas
• was painted by Stieler, Joseph
• was a friend of Streicher, Andreas
• was a friend of Streicher-Stein, Nanette
• has a connection with Unger, Caroline
• knew Varnhagen von Ense, Karl-August
• was visited by Wieck, Friedrich
• was sculpted by Zumbusch, Kaspar, Ritter von

21/11/1796Performance of Beethoven's "Ah, perfido" in Leipzig. The singer was Josefina Duskova. Beethoven had written it for her when he was in Prague. At that time she wasn't available and it was performed in Prague by Josephine Clary, to whom Beethoven dedicated the piece afterwards. [Duskova, Josefina]
20/11/1805Premiere of Beethoven's opera "Fidelio" at the Theater an der Wien. Anna Milder-Hauptmann performed the title part. Ignaz von Seyfried was the conductor. Carl Demmer was Florestan. The premiere was not a success and the opera was performed three times. In 1806 the second version would do better. [Milder-Hauptmann, Anna]
29/3/1806Premiere of the second version Beethoven's opera "Fidelio". The first version had not been a success in November 1805. Beethoven had reduced the three acts to two acts in this version. Anna Milder was Leonore again, but Joseph August Röckel replaced Carl Demmer as Florestan. Ignaz von Seyfried was the conductor once more. This version was received better than the first one. [Milder-Hauptmann, Anna]
15/6/1810Beethoven's music to Goethe's "Egmont" is first performed at the Burgtheater in Vienna. Amalie Adamberger sang the parts that Beethoven had written with her in mind. The first part, the Ouvertüre, became so well known that it was often performed apart from Goethe's play. Goethe and E.T.A. Hoffmann praised Beethoven's music. [Adamberger, Antonie][Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von][Hoffmann, Ernst Theodor Amadeus]
0/7/1812Beethoven and Goethe meet in Teplice. Both were in that city at the time and Bettina von Arnim arranged their first meeting. They saw each other several times during the next days. [Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von]
23/5/1814Premiere of the third and final version of Beethoven's "Fidelio". It took place at the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna. Georg Friedrich Treitschke had made changes to the libretto. Michael Umlauf was the conductor and Anna Milder was again Leonore. Florestan was performed by Julius Radichi and Marzelline by Anna Bondra. Franz Schubert was in the audience. This third version was a great success. [Milder-Hauptmann, Anna]
25/1/1815Franz Wild sings "Adelaide" accompanied by Beethoven in Vienna. It was during the congress of Vienna and the tsarina of Russia attended. Beethoven accompanied him on the piano. It was Beethoven's last public appearance as a pianist. 
7/5/1824Premiere of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. At the Kärtnertortheater in Vienna. It was longer than any previous symphonie and required a larger orchestra. It also had vocal soloists in the final part. Allthough he was almost deaf, Beethoven was on the stage and gave directions to the orchestra allthough it was officially directed by Michael Umlauf. Soloist Caroline Unger tapped his arm to make him turn around and face the reaction of the audience. She had tears in her eyes because she realised how deaf he was. Henriette Sontag also sang. [Unger, Caroline]
11/9/1825Private rehearsal of Beethoven's "Quartet in A minor op. 132". Two private rehearsals took place on 9 and 11 September at the hotel "Zum wilden Mann" in Vienna. The piece was commissioned by Prince Nikolai Borissowitsch Golitsyn. Among the few guests who were present on 11 September were Maurice Schlesinger and Catherine Cibbini. The public premiere took place on 6 November 1825. 
26/9/1825Farewell diner for Maurice Schlesinger in Vienna. He was moving to Paris. Among the participants were Ludwig van Beethoven and Ignaz Franz Castelli. 
20/4/1828Performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 in A major at the salon Jean-Henri Pape in Paris. It as been transcribed by Henry Bertini and it was performed by Bertini, Franz Liszt, Ludwig Schincke and Sowinski. [Liszt, Franz][Schuncke, Ludwig]
25/4/1841Beethoven's "Emperor Concerto" performed by Berlioz and Liszt in Paris. Berlioz was the conductor and Liszt was the soloist. [Berlioz, Hector][Liszt, Franz]
5/4/1846Richard Wagner conducts Beethoven's sixth symphony in Dresden. The performance took place at the Old Opera House. [Wagner, Richard]
22/6/1888Beethoven is reburied at the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna 
29/9/1949Ginette Neveu plays the Beethoven Violin Concerto at the Kurhaus in Baden-Baden. The next month she would die in a plane crash. [Neveu, Ginette]


The statue of Beethoven in Bonn. Franz Liszt helped to pay for it.
Picture by Androom (24 Apr 2005)


The grave of Ludwig van Beethoven at the Zentralfriedhof, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (20 Aug 2007)


"Beethoven" by Joseph Stieler.


'Ludwig van Beethoven'.


The house in Baden where Beethoven lived during the summers of 1821, 1822 and 1823.
Picture by Androom (21 Aug 2009)


The house in Baden where Beethoven lived during the summers of 1821, 1822 and 1823.
Picture by Androom (21 Aug 2009)


Plaque for Ludwig van Beethoven at his birthhouse in Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen.
Picture by Androom (21 Mar 2022)


The birthhouse of Ludwig van Beethoven in Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen.
Picture by Androom (21 Mar 2022)


• Bauer, Werner T., Wiener Friedhofsführer, Genaue Beschreibung sämtlicher Begräbnisstätten nebst einer Geschichte des Wiener Bestattungswesens, Falter Verlag, Wien, 1991
• Vincent, Benjamin, Haydn's Dictionary of Dates, and Universal Information, Ward, Lock & Co, London, 1906
• Gutman, Robert, Richard Wagner, Der Mensch, sein Werk, seine Zeit, Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, München, 1989
The Unique Story of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony - In Mozart's Footsteps - Uncommon Musical Travel
Franz Wild (Sänger) – Wikipedia
Ignaz Franz Castelli – Wikipedia
Musik zu Goethes Trauerspiel Egmont – Wikipedia
Fidelio - Wikipedia
Ludwig van Beethoven - Wikipedia
Henri Bertini — Wikipédia

Beethoven, Maria Magdalena

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 23 Mar 2024