Ludwig van Beethoven


Beethoven’s Early Period


The Early Years in Vienna


Joseph Haydn

Johann Schenk

Johann Albrechtsberger

Antonio Salieri

Points to Consider:

  • Beethoven studied with Haydn for about one year, as Haydn left for his SECOND London trip in January 1794.
  • In the words of Beethoven, "I never learned anything from Haydn".
  • That statement is UNTRUE!

Problems with the studies were:

  1. Haydn was most likely too busy working on his own late works in Vienna and was enjoying his new-found freedom, and he didn't put as much effort into his teaching of Beethoven
  2. There was a conflict of personalities. Beethoven was mistrustful and difficult. He believed that Haydn was envious of him. Remember that Haydn was recognized as the greatest living composer in the world at the time. Beethoven had come to Vienna to make a name for himself, assimilate the High Classic style, and out-perform all the pianists in the city (often in highly publicized "contests").
  3. Beethoven secretly studied counterpoint with SCHENK and ALBRECHTSBERGER Later, Beethoven would also study Italian text setting and operatic writing with SALIERI, so his pedigree in teachers is as follows:
    • Christian Gottlob Neefe (see LIFE IN BONN)
    • Joseph Haydn
    • Johann Baptist Schenk
    • Johann Georg Albrechtsberger
    • Antonio Salieri


"It did not take Beethoven long to establish himself as a keyboard virtuoso of the highest order in Vienna. He had a number of things going for him that helped him:

  • He was a protégé of Count Waldstein, who was very important in Viennese society, and who was partially responsible for bankrolling Beethoven's trip to Vienna.
  • He was a pupil of Haydn, which was very prestigious
  • He was court organist (still his position in Bonn) to the uncle of the Emperor Francis

Soon Beethoven was in great demand in the salons of Vienna, and he also made a number of successful trips, to Prague, Dresden, Leipzig, and Berlin. Beethoven was lavishly supported in his early years by the aristocracy, and was especially close to Prince Lichnowsky.