Beethoven was the grandson of a musician of Flemish origin named Lodewijk van Beethoven (1712–73). Beethoven was named after his grandfather, as Lodewijk is the Dutch cognate of Ludwig.Beethoven's grandfather was employed as a bass singer at the court of the Elector of Cologne, rising to become Kapellmeister (music director). He had one son, Johann van Beethoven (1740–1792), who worked as atenor in the same musical establishment, also giving lessons on piano and violin to supplement his income. Johann married Maria Magdalena Keverich in 1767; she was the daughter of Johann HeinrichKeverich, who had been the head chef at the court of the Archbishopric of Trier.
Beethoven was born of this marriage in Bonn. There is no authentic record of his birthday; however, the registry ofhis baptism, in a Roman Catholic service at the Parish of St. Regius on 17 December, 1770, survives. As children of that era were traditionally baptised the day after birth in the Catholic Rhinecountry, and it is known that Beethoven's family and his teacher Johann Albrechtsberger celebrated his birthday on 16 December, most scholars accept 16 December, 1770 as Beethoven's date ofbirth. Of the seven children born to Johann van Beethoven, only the second-born, Ludwig, and two younger brothers survived infancy. Caspar Anton Carl was born on 8 April 1774, and Nikolaus Johann, theyoungest, was born on 2 October 1776.
Beethoven's first music teacher was his father. Tradition has it that Johann van Beethoven was a harsh instructor, and that the child Beethoven, "made to standat the keyboard, was often in tears." However, the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians claimed that no solid documentation supported this, and asserted that "speculation and myth-making haveboth been productive." Beethoven had other local teachers: the court organist Gilles van den Eeden (d. 1782), Tobias Friedrich Pfeiffer (a family friend, who taught Beethoven piano), and a...
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