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Profile of Franz Joseph Haydn


Profile of Franz Joseph Haydn

Franz Joseph Haydn Portrait by Thomas Hardy

Public Domian Portrait (Source: www.vanslageren.nl)


March 31, 1732, he was born to an impoverished yet musically-inclined family. His father, Mathias, played the harp and his mother, Anna Maria, could sing (although both didn't pursue their talents professionally). Franz Joseph had two brothers; Michael was a composer and Johann was a tenor who sang in a church choir.


Rohrau, Austria


May 31, 1809 in Vienna due to old age

Also Known As:

Transitional composer of the Baroque to the Romantic period. He is known as the "Father of the Symphony" due to his contributions (over 100 symphonies) to this musical style. He was married to Maria Anna Keller on November 26, 1760.

Type of Compositions:

Haydn's work includes symphonies, arias, cantatas, concertos, chamber music, operas, oratorios, overtures, piano sonatas, string quartets, songs and serenades.


His first formal training was in singing, under a church choir director and school principal named Johann Franc. Haydn had a beautiful voice when he was young and he showcased his talent by singing in church choirs. Eventually, as he hit puberty his voice changed and he became a freelance musician.

Music Career:

He became music director for Count Morzin in 1757 and in 1761 began working for Prince Nichloas "the Magnificent" Esterhazy. He spent nearly 30 years working for the wealthy Esterhazy family as Kapellmeister. His job entailed that he conduct the royal orchestra, compose music in various styles (eg. operas), coach the singers and make sure that everything is in order before a performance. When the prince died in 1790, Haydn traveled to London and was hired by Peter Solomon to conduct and compose symphonies. After that he went back to Vienna where he continued to compose until his death.

Notable Works:

Haydn was a prolific composer who gave his compositions at times funny nicknames. Some of his works are: "Salomon" (or London, Nos. 93 to 104), the "Apponyi Quartets," "Die Schöpfung" (The Creation), "Die Jahreszeiten" (The Seasons), Symphony No. 49, "La Passione," Symphony No. 82 "The Bear," Symphony No. 83 "The Hen," Symphony No. 92 "The Oxford," Symphony No. 94 "The Surprise," Symphony No. 96 "The Miracle," Symphony No. 100 "The Military," Symphony No. 101 "The Clock" and Symphony No. 103 "The Drumroll."

Interesting Fact:

Mozart and Haydn were good friends. In fact, at Haydn's funeral Mozart’s Requiem was performed. It is believed that Ludwig van Beethoven received brief instruction from Haydn. Haydn was well-respected and well-loved by his peers and patrons.

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