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Joseph Haydn - Life and Works

Austrian composer Joseph Haydn was a much loved person, esteemed by his contemporaries, diligent, humorous and affable, unspoilt by his steep climb from humble conditions into the highest social circles.

More about Joseph Haydn

Esterhazy Palace, Burgenland © Österreich Werbung / Rainer  Fehringer Esterhazy Palace, Burgenland © Österreich Werbung / Rainer Fehringer

From Choirboy to Conductor

Joseph Haydn was born on March 31st, 1732, in Rohrau (Lower Austria), the second of twelve children of a coach-builder and a cook. His musical talent already became clear at a very early age.
Haydn's formative years
Esterhazy Palace Eisenstadt © Esterhazy / Roland Wimmer Esterhazy Palace Eisenstadt © Esterhazy / Roland Wimmer

In the Services of Esterházy

In 1761 Haydn made a lucky career move by entering the services of the Esterházys in Eisenstadt, one of the richest and most influential families within the Austro-Hungarian empire.
Haydn and the Esterházys
Haydn Portrait © Österreich Werbung / Lois Lammerhuber Haydn Portrait © Österreich Werbung / Lois Lammerhuber

A Star in Great Britain

In 1790 Prince Nikolaus I. died. His successor showed no interest in music and disbanded the orchestra and choir and granted Haydn an annual pension, releasing him into the international world of music. Mozart expressed reservations that Haydn didn't even speak English. Haydn's response: “My music is understood in all the world!”
Haydn's time in England
House of Joseph Haydn / Eisenstadt / Burgenland © Österreich Werbung /  Herzberger House of Joseph Haydn / Eisenstadt / Burgenland © Österreich Werbung / Herzberger

Haydn's Travels Through Austria

To Mozart he was a fatherly friend and Beethoven was his most famous student. Numerous sites in Vienna, Lower Austria, Burgenland and Sopron attest to the life of the Austrain composer Joseph Haydn.
Trace Haydn through Austria
Haydnsaal, Schloss Esterhazy © Haydn Festival Eisenstadt Haydnsaal, Schloss Esterhazy © Haydn Festival Eisenstadt

Move to Vienna and World Renown

Haydn was laid to rest in Vienna where his last public appearance took place in March 1808. One of the guests was Ludwig van Beethoven. He died peacefully at the age of 77 in what is now known as the Haydnhaus
The final years
Haydnsaal, Schloss Esterházy © Paul Szimak Haydnsaal, Schloss Esterházy © Paul Szimak

The Oeuvre of the Master

Haydn is considered the “father" of the classical symphony and string quartet, and an innovator in the composition of piano sonatas and trios.
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