Ludwig van Beethoven (December 1770 – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most influential of all composers.

Born in Bonn then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire, Beethoven moved to Vienna in early 20s, studying with Joseph Haydn and gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. His hearing began to deteriorate in his late twenties, yet he continued to compose, conduct, and perform, even after becoming completely deaf.

I love a tree more than a man
Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven's stylistic innovations encompass two achievements. First, they brought the Classical form to its highest expressive level, expanding in formal, structural and harmonic terms the musical idiom developed by predecessors such as Mozart and Haydn. Additionally, they proved immensely influential over the musical language and thinking of the Romantic era, whether as a source of direct inspiration, as with the music of Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms, or in terms of defining a musical reaction against his stylistic language, as with music of Mendelssohn.