Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany in 1770 (December), the same year that William Clark (of the Lewis and Clark Expedition) was born, and the year in which the Boston Massacre occurred.
Showing musical promise as a child, Beethoven was taught violin, viola, horn, and keyboard, by his father and other local musicians, including Christian Neefe, the court organist. Young Ludwig filled in for Neefe, and at age twelve, played harpsichord (an early keyboard instrument and predecessor to our piano) for the court.
Beethoven must have been grateful for Neefe’s instruction, as he once wrote to Neefe: ‘I thank you for the advice you have very often given me about making progress in my divine art. Should I ever become a great man, you too will have a share in my success.’
At seventeen (in 1787 – the year when the French Revolution started to *take place*), Beethoven travelled to Vienna for musically enrichment, and may have taken some lessons with Mozart.