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Haydn, Joseph (1732 - 1809)

The father of the Viennese Classic, Franz Joseph Haydn, was not born in Vienna, but in the village of Rohrau in the eastern part of Lower Austria on 31st March 1732

Haydn Portrait © Österreich Werbung
It was Haydn’s voice which first took him to Vienna to join the choir of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. When his voice broke, the young Haydn had to leave the choir, and he began to earn a living by giving lessons and playing in various orchestras. At the same time he studied piano and composition. From 1761 to 1790 he was court conductor to Prince Esterházy, first in Eisenstadt and later in Fertod. Haydn enjoyed tremendous success in London, which he visited twice on concert tours. Nevertheless, he turned down a position offered to him by King George III.

Joseph Haydn composed over one hundred symphonies, of which the "Drum Roll" is probably the most famous, in addition to seventy string quartets and several operas. The oratorio "The Creation", the libretto which he brought with him from London, is one of the fine examples of his powers of artistic creation. Haydn died on 31st May 1809 in Vienna.