Franz Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was born in a small village near Vienna, the second of 12 children. His father loved music, putting on family concerts in which all the children participated. Early on he showed talent as a singer, and his parents sent him away at age six to receive a musical education. When he was eight he became a choirboy at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. After a successful career there, his voice changed, and he eked out a living as a musician, playing and teaching. He slowly gained fame, finally finding success by the late 1750s.
In 1761 the Esterhazy family, one the richest and most influential of the Hungarian nobility, employed Haydn. By 1766 he had full control over all the music at the Esterhazy palace (Esterhaza), writing numerous symphonies, string quartets, and sonatas, as well as other chamber music and operas. His music for the Esterhazys often shows a certain wit and lightheartedness.
Called "Papa" Haydn by his many admirers, including Mozart, Haydn was finally freed in 1790 of his duties at Esterhaza and traveled to London, where he was received with great fanfare. After writing numerous pieces in London, he finally returned to Vienna, dying there at the age of 77, a composer with a long and successful career.
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