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The composer of some of the most influential pieces of music everwritten Ludwig van Beethoven created a bridge between the 18th-centuryclassical period and the new beginnings of Romanticism His greatestbreakthroughs in composition came in his instrumental work includinghis symphonies Unlike his predecessor Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for whomwriting music seemed to come easily Beethoven always struggled to Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn Germany and was baptized onDec 17 1770 There is no record of his birth date His father andgrandfather worked as court musicians in Bonn Ludwigs father asinger gave him his early musical training Although he had only meageracademic schooling he studied piano violin and French horn andbefore he was 12 years old he became a court organist Ludwigs firstimportant teacher of composition was Christian Gottlob Neefe In 1787 hestudied briefly with Mozart and five years later he left Bonnpermanently and went to Vienna to study with Joseph Haydn and later with Beethovens first public appearance in Vienna was on March 29 1795as a soloist in one of his piano concerti Even before he left Bonn hehad developed a reputation for fine improvisatory performances InVienna young Beethoven soon had a long list of aristocratic patrons wholoved music and were eager to help him In the late 1700s Beethoven began to suffer from early symptoms ofdeafness The cause of his disability is still uncertain By 1802Beethoven was convinced that the condition not only was permanent butwas getting progressively worse He spent that summer in the country andwrote what has become known as the Heiligenstadt Testament In thedocument apparently intended for his two brothers Beethoven expressedhis humiliation and despair For the rest of his life he searched for acure but by 1819 his deafness had become total Afterward in order tohave conversations with his friends Beethoven had them write down their Beethoven never married Though he had many friends he seemed to bea lonely man He continued to appear in public
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