Joseph Haydn

Joseph Haydn

Joseph Haydn

Joseph Haydn was an 18th-century classical composer. He has been called the father of the symphony, although his work really only laid the groundwork for what was to become the symphony. Friends called him “Papa Haydn” because he was so congenial and ready to help others.

Hulton Deutsch

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), Austrian composer, recognized as a dominant force in the development of the musical style of the classical era (circa 1750-circa 1820).

Of humble origins, Haydn was born in the village of Rohrau, near Vienna, on March 31, 1732. When eight years old he was accepted into the choir school of Saint Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, where he received his only formal education. Dismissed from the choir at the age of 17, he spent the next several years as a struggling freelance musician. He studied on his own the standard textbooks on counterpoint and took occasional lessons from the noted Italian singing master and composer Nicola Porpora. In 1755 Haydn was engaged briefly by Baron Karl Josef von Fürnberg, for whom he apparently composed his first string quartets. A more substantial position followed in 1759, when he was hired as music director by Count Ferdinand Maximilian von Morzin. Haydn's marriage in 1760 to Maria Anna Keller proved to be unhappy as well as childless.

Contributed By:
Gretchen A. Wheelock


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