January: Franz Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn was born on March 31st in Rohrau Austria. Unlike many other famous composers of his time, he did not come from a musical family. His father was a wheelwright, someone who made enormous wheels for wagons and carriages. As a boy he was known for his magnificent singing voice, so he went to sing at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, where he often got into trouble for being a joker. His music became most well known while he worked for Prince Esterhazy. He worked for the Prince and his family for 29 years. He was nicknamed “Papa Haydn” by the musicians who worked for him. Haydn was a friend of Mozart’s, and Beethoven’s. Franz Joseph Haydn was the most famous composer of his time. He helped develop new musical forms, like the string quartet and the symphony. In fact, even though he didn’t invent it, Haydn is known as the “Father of the Symphony.” His influence is still felt today.
Learn more about Haydn on these websites:
Watch a performance of the Surprise Symphony:
Watch a graphic representation of the same piece:
Here is a performance of the “Farewell” Symphony: