Life Event Major Compositions Professional Career

A Timeline For Beethoven, His Life, and His Works

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  1. Ludwig von Beethoven Born in Bonn, Germany
    Date: 1770
    Location: Bonn, Germany
    Ludwig von Beethoven was born on December 16, 1770 in Bonn, Germany to his parents, Johann van Beethoven and Maria Magdalena Keverich.
    Source: Music Appreciation, Hickok, 1971, Meredith Corp.
    Keywords: childhood
  2. Ludwig is forced to take piano lessons.
    Date: 1774
    Location: Bonn, Germany
    Ludwig's father held the hope that he could mold his son into a child musical prodigy like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This love of music was not something that Ludwig shared at first, with reports made by neighbors that they would often see him sobbing because he knew he would soon have to go inside to work on his scales. Over time, Beethoven came to love music, practicing of his own accord for many hours each day on the violin and piano. In later years Ludwig took lessons from the court organist, a position he would eventually achieve himself.
    Source: Stories of Great Musicians, Scoby and Horne, 1905, American Book Co.
    Keywords: piano and music study
  3. Appointed to the post of assistant organist.
    Date: 1784
    Location: Bonn, Germany
    Beethoven had been substituting as organist since age 12 but was finally appointed as the official assistant organist in the Electoral Court chapel in 1784.
    Source: Music Appreciation, Hickok, 1971, Meredith Corp.
    Keywords: organ, childhood, and performance
  4. First visit to Vienna
    Date: 1787
    Location: Vienna, Austria
    Ludwig makes his first visit to the Austrian capital of Vienna in 1787. While there he received word that his mother was dying. He returned home to Bonn only a few days before her death.
    Source: Stories of Great Musicians, Scoby and Horne, 1905, American Book Co.
    Keywords: travel, mother, and illness
  5. Plays for Mozart in Vienna
    Date: 1787
    Location: Vienna, Austria
    During a visit to the Austrian capital of Vienna in 1787, a seventeen year old Beethoven had the opportunity to perform for the legendary composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.His talents greatly impressed Mozart and he was encouraged to continue his studies. Beethoven quickly returned home to be with his dying mother. By the time he returned to Vienna in 1792, Mozart had died as well.
    Source: Stories of Great Musicians, Scoby and Horne, 1905, American Book Co.
    Keywords: Mozart, performance, and piano
  6. Beethoven meets Haydn
    Date: 1790
    Location: Bonn, Germany
    Beethoven meets Joseph Haydn during his visit to Bonn in 1790. Haydn suggests that Ludwig move to Vienna to study music.
    Source: Music Appreciation, Hickok, 1971, Meredith Corp.
    Keywords: Haydn
  7. Moves to Vienna to study music.
    Date: 1792
    Location: Vienna, Austria
    In 1792 Ludwig moved to Vienna, Austria to study with Haydn and other composers.
    Source: Music Appreciation, Hickok, 1971, Meredith Corp.
    Keywords: music study
  8. First public Vienna performance.
    Date: 1795
    Location: Bonn, Germany
    Ludwig's first public performance in Vienna did not come until three years after he moved there to study music. His performance of his Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat gave him significant prestige in the community.
    Source: Music Appreciation, Hickok, 1971, Meredith Corp.
    Keywords: performance, concerto, and composition
  9. Begins to feel the effects of hearing loss
    Date: 1798
    Location: Vienna, Austria
    Beginning in 1798, Ludwig von Beethoven began to experience some hearing problems beginning with ringing in the ears and other symptoms. These problems worsened over the coming years, eventually leading to his considering suicide in 1802.
    Source: Classical Music, Stanley, 1994 Reed International Books Limited
    Keywords: hearing loss and illness
  10. First Symphony
    Date: 1800
    Location: Vienna, Austria
    At the age of thirty, Beethoven completes his first of nine symphonies.
    Source: Classical Music, Stanley, 1994 Reed International Books Limited
    Keywords: symphony and composition