1. Ludwig van Beethoven was born 250 years ago this week.
Born in Bonn, Germany, the actual date of his birth is unknown, but he was baptized on December 17, 1770.
2. His musical talent was apparent at a young age.
He began lessons at age 5, and published his first composition, a set of keyboard variations, in 1783.
3. At age 21 he moved to Vienna to study under Haydn.
Shortly thereafter, his hearing began to deteriorate. However, he continued to conduct orchestras. He was almost completely deaf by 44 and gave up performing in public.
4. He wrote music for wealthy patrons.
In all, he wrote nine symphonies, 32 piano sonatas, one opera, five piano concertos, and many chamber works including some ground-breaking string quartets.
5. He died in 1827 in Vienna, after being bedridden for months.
But his works remain mainstays of the classical music repertoire. Both a monument and a museum have been erected in Bonn to his memory.