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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 March 31, 1732.

It was Haydn’s voice which first brought him to the capital 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 him by King George III.

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 for which he brought with him from London, is one of the supreme examples of his powers of artistic creation. Haydn died on May 31, 1809 in Vienna.

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