December 16, 2013 – Today, we celebrate Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthday (born December 16, 1770, in Bonn, Germany.) For years, Beethoven thought he was born in 1772, which may have been a deliberate deception on his father’s part to make the talented musical prodigy seem more advanced for his age. His father may have been one of the first known stage parents in history.
Although often associated with the piano, he first learned to pay the violin as a young boy. He wrote his first musical piece at age 12, and began losing his hearing by age 25, yet still continued to compose. Most of his best-known pieces and all of his nine symphonies were written after age 30, when he was deaf. He did so by feeling the vibrations of the piano.
Beethoven has been the topic of several films, and plays a huge role in modern pop culture, having been parodied on “Saturday Night Live” by both John Belushi and Jimmy Fallon, and by Monty Python and Dudley Moore, as seen in the clips below. Unfortunately, I was unable to find the entire Jimmy Fallon skit, entitled “Beethoven’s Orchestra”, which has the funnyman introducing his band while in concert, but the 17-second clip features the hilarious Kristen Wiig.