Joseph Haydn

Haydn was an Austrian composer of the classical period, often referred to as the "Father of the Symphony" or "Father of the String Quartet."

Joseph Haydn was born in Rohrau in Lower Austria. His father was an enthusiastic musician, therefore, Haydn's younger brother Michael Haydn became a composer too.

Joseph Haydn received music education in Hainburg, he learned to play the harpsichord and violin and sang soprano in the church choir. Eight-year-old Joseph was discovered by organist from St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna and took him to the Cathedral Choir. He worked there until he was 17 years old. After his voice changed, he was let go. He wandered the streets, earned by rewriting of scores and playing the violin at balls. First he worked as a musician in an orchestra, and later accepted a place in a small nobleman's courtyard. At that time, he married Anna Maria Keller, who lived with him for forty years.

At this time, Haydn already wrote a few pieces. He didn’t have enough money to be able to take lessons, so he decided that he would teach music theory and compositional technique himself. Haydn perfected his knowledge and in 1761 received an offer to become a member of a private orchestra of Prince Esterhazy, who was the head of the richest and most powerful family in Hungary. In 1766, he was promoted to be the head of the orchestra in a beautiful castle built on the model of Versailles.

Haydn composed at an incredible pace, and his fame came unexpectedly and quickly. There have been foreign editions and he also began to receive more and more orders from abroad. As a head of the orchestra, he had numerous and serious obligations. He also befriended Mozart there and grew very fond of his music.

After the death of Prince Esterhazy in 1790, Haydn already highly acclaimed and popular. His duties at court ended, although his salary and title remained. He accepted an invitation for two visits to London. He also began to teach Ludwig van Beethoven.

In 1795, the family returned to Esterhazy castle, where Haydn continued composing. The last few years have been as fruitful as the previous ones.

Then his health began to deteriorate quickly and he stopped composing altogether. Joseph Haydn, the great and renowned Austrian composer, died in 1809 in his Vienna home. At that time, Napoleon’s units entered the city.