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Beethoven

The works of Ludwig van Beethoven, Germany´s greatest composer, are played throughout the world. At the tender age of 12 he was creating sonatas and symphonies which to the day form the basis of every good musical education.

The house where Ludwig van Beethoven was born has become a symbol of Bonn. Many of the city´s musical events are dedicated to its most gifted son, and music fans from all over the world every year come to Bonn´s Beethoven festival.

Beethovens years in Bonn

The grave of Beethoven's mother, Maria Magdalena van Beethoven, at the Old Cemetery in Bonn.

Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn in December 1770 and died in Vienna on March 26, 1827. The exact date is not known. But the date of his baptism is known: On December 17, the priest - it was probably Peter Isbach - noted in the church register the baptism of Ludovicus van Beethoven, son of Johannes van Beethoven and Helena Keverichs.

The Beethoven-Haus Bonn has a facsimile of the baptism entry, the original is kept in the Bonn City Archives.

Beethoven was born into a family of musicians: his father Johann was a tenor player at the electoral court orchestra in Bonn, his grandfather Ludwig was court conductor in Bonn.

Around 1780, Ludwig van Beethoven became a student of the court organist Christian Gottlob Neefe. In 1782, Beethoven's first work appears in print: the Piano Variations on a March by Dressler (WoO 63). From 1783 on, Beethoven replaced Neefe at the organ, and in 1784 he received a permanent position as court organist. 

Neefe supported Ludwig van Beethoven both artistically and personally. The trip to Vienna in 1787, financed by the Elector, is probably due to his mediation. 

Beethoven was to take lessons in Vienna with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Whether he met him at all, however, cannot be proven. Already on his way home, news of his mother's fatal illness reached him, hastening his return to Bonn. After his mother's death, Ludwig van Beethoven took over the care of the family, since his father was seriously ill with alcohol and could no longer take care of the children.

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  • Giacomo Zucca/Bundesstadt Bonn
  • Beethoven-Haus Bonn

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