Ludwig van Beethoven lived from December 17, 1770 to March 26, 1827. He is widely regarded as the bridge between the Classical and Romantic periods. By and far, he is one of the important of all composers in Western music. He composed 9 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, a violin concerto, 32 piano sonatas and several shorter piano pieces, sixteen string quartets, masses (including the Missa solemnis), and an opera called Fidelio.
He was born in Bonn, then capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Beethoven was taught by his father Johann van Beethoven. He was also taught by Joseph Haydn. He started going deaf in his 20s and this problem later in life led him to stop conducting and focus exclusively on composing. During the last years of his life, he composed most of his most popular works.