We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Who is Haydn?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
PublicPeople is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At PublicPeople, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) is one of the most prolific and best-known Viennese composers during the Classical Period of music. Though he is often called Franz Joseph Haydn, he was never known by this name during his lifetime, and music purists often insist the “Franz” be dropped when referring to Haydn.

Haydn grew up in a very musical family. Accounts refer to his family often singing together or with neighbors in their home in Rohrau. Haydn’s father was a well-known folk musician. Two brothers were also successful musicians in their lifetimes. Michael Haydn became a composer, though he certainly did not approach his brother in talent. Johann Evangelist Haydn was a well-loved tenor. Both parents recognized that Haydn had extraordinary musical gifts. As such, he was sent to study music with a distant relative, Johann Franck.

Haydn was only six at the time, and accounts tell that he was frequently hungry and poorly treated by Franck. However, in his studies he learned the harpsichord, violin and also how to sing. His ability to sing brought Haydn to the attention of George von Reutter, who took over Haydn’s care and enlisted him as a member of the popular boys’ choir in Vienna at St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

Still suffering from neglect by Reutter, and not given much musical training, Haydn managed to amass quite a bit of knowledge at St. Stephen’s. It was considered the musical center of Vienna in many respects, and almost every leading composer of the time performed there at one time or another. How a hungry little boy could continue to love music and learn so much is hard to guess. Perhaps learning was his refuge from an otherwise neglected childhood.

When Haydn was seventeen, he could no longer sing the high boy’s tenor and was dismissed from the choir. For several years he traveled as a freelance musician before being hired as an assistant director (kappellmeister) by the Eszterházy family, one of the most wealthy and well-connected families in Austria. He soon became director or conductor of the family’s small orchestral group, and would remain there for thirty years, producing numerous compositions. He became well known outside of royal circles, and wrote about half of his work for publication and half for the orchestra he directed.

Mozart and Haydn became friends in the 1780s. Haydn was overwhelmed by Mozart’s genius, and the two became inseparable. It seems logical that Haydn could easily have related to the hardships that Mozart endured as a child prodigy. The two were also part of a Masonic lodge dedicated to Catholicism. The two great composers frequently played string quartets together, and Mozart dedicated a series of string quartets to “his Masonic brother,” Haydn.

A trip to England in the 1790s earned Haydn even more praise. During this time he composed some of his most well known works of today, including the lovely Surprise Symphony. Now quite wealthy, he retired to Austria, fighting for a time an illness, which made it impossible for him to compose. He was able to compose a small patriotic melody that is now used in both the Austrian and German national anthems.

Haydn was beloved by many who remarked on his sense of humor, his humility, and his irrepressible energy. His marriage in 1760 to Maria Anna Keller was unhappy, and they had no children together. Despite his devout nature as a Catholic, it is thought he had several mistresses throughout his lifetime and may have fathered a child or two with mistress Luigia Polzelli. Overlooking his infidelities however, he was said to be kind as well as gifted. He heavily influenced the developing musical forms of the symphony and the string quartet. His work is considered the most influential on other artists of the Classical era.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a PublicPeople contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By spasiba — On Sep 10, 2008

Best known for his symphonies and string quartets. Hayden did not invent them, but he did bring them to a higher level.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a PublicPeople contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.