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The Austrian composer Joseph Haydn was born in the village of Rohrau near Vienna on March 31 1732 When eight years old he was accepted into the choir school of Saint Stephens Cathedral in Vienna where he received his only formal education Dismissed from the choir at the age of 17 he spent the next several years as a struggling freelance musician He studied on his own the standard textbooks on counterpoint and took occasional lessons from the noted Italian singing master and composer Nicola Porpora In 1755 Haydn was engaged briefly by Baron Karl Josef von F for whom he apparently composed his first string quartets A more substantial position followed in 1759 when he was hired as music director by Count Ferdinand Maximilian von Morzin Haydns marriage in 1760 to Maria Anna Keller proved to be unhappy as well as childless The turning point in Haydns fortunes came in 1761 when he was appointed assistant music director to Prince P Antal Esterh he became full director or Kapellmeister in 1762 In addition to the symphonies operas marionette operettas masses chamber pieces and dance music that Haydn was expected to compose for the princes entertainment he was required to rehearse and conduct performances of his own and others works coach singers maintain the instrument collection and music library perform as organist violist and violinist when needed and settle disputes among the musicians in his charge After the death of Prince Mikl in 1790 his son Prince Antal greatly reduced the Esterh musical establishment Although Haydn retained his title of Kapellmeister he was at last free to travel beyond the environs of Vienna The enterprising British violinist and impresario Johann Peter Salomon lost no time in engaging the composer for his concert series in London In his late years in Vienna Haydn turned to writing masses and composed his great oratorios The Creation 1798 and The Seasons 1801 From this period also comes
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