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Beethoven 101

How much do you know about Beethoven? Brush up on your knowledge with these five interesting facts.

Where and when was Beethoven born?

Ludwig van Beethoven was baptized in Bonn, Germany, on December 17, 1770. The actual date of his birth cannot be confirmed.

Is it true that Beethoven was deaf?

Before Beethoven turned 30, he had already experienced buzzing and ringing in his ears. As his deafness increased, he maintained detailed “conversation books” for acquaintances to scribble comments to which he responded aloud. By 1816, Beethoven had lost all of his hearing—the cause of which is still unknown—though many of his most notable works were composed in the decade that followed.

How many pieces did Beethoven compose?

Beethoven wrote nine symphonies, 32 piano sonatas, 16 string quartets, an opera, choral music, and many additional works for soloists and orchestra, solo instruments, and chamber ensembles.

Who were Beethoven’s teachers?

While Beethoven studied with many teachers, one of his most notable mentors was Joseph Haydn. They had a somewhat rocky relationship due, in part, to Haydn’s busy schedule and Beethoven’s stubbornness. Though Haydn sarcastically referred to the younger composer as the “Grand Mogul,” Beethoven nevertheless dedicated his Op. 2 piano sonatas to his teacher.

Was Beethoven ever married?

Beethoven was notoriously unlucky in love. He never married, though he did fall in love several times—often with aristocratic women. In 1812, Beethoven wrote a long love letter addressed to his “Immortal Beloved,” the identity of whom is still debated.