Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was an Austrian composer of the Classical period, and one of the most influential and prolific composers of his time. He is known for his contributions to the development of many musical forms, including the symphony, string quartet, and piano sonata.
Haydn was born in Rohrau, Austria, and began his musical career as a choirboy at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. He later worked as a freelance musician, teaching and composing music for various patrons. In 1761, he was hired as a court musician by the wealthy Esterházy family, for whom he worked for over 30 years.
During his time at the Esterházy court, Haydn composed hundreds of works, including over 100 symphonies, over 50 keyboard sonatas, dozens of string quartets, and numerous operas, oratorios, and masses. His music was known for its elegant melodies, inventive harmonies, and witty humor, and he was widely regarded as one of the leading composers of his time.
Haydn’s influence on the development of classical music cannot be overstated. His contributions to the symphony and string quartet, in particular, helped to establish these forms as central genres of Western classical music. He also mentored and influenced several other important composers, including Mozart and Beethoven. Today, Haydn’s music continues to be widely performed and celebrated for its beauty, innovation, and lasting impact on the world of classical music.