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Ludwig van Beethoven

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"Ludwig van Beethoven" (pronounced ) (baptized December 17, 1770 – March 26, 1827) was a German composer and pianist. He is widely regarded as one of history's greatest composers, and was the predominant figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music. His reputation and genius have inspired—and in many cases intimidated—ensuing generations of composers, musicians, and audiences.

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Born in Bonn, Germany, he moved to Vienna, Austria, in his early twenties, and settled there, studying with Joseph Haydn and quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. In his late twenties he began to lose his hearing, and yet continued to produce notable masterpieces throughout his life in the face of this personal disaster. Beethoven was one of the first composers who worked as a freelance - arranging subscription concerts, selling his compositions to publishers and gaining financial support from a number of wealthy patrons - rather than being permanently employed by the Church or by an aristocratic court.<...

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