Ludwig van Beethoven ~ Born to a musical family, he was a precociously gifted pianist and violist. After nine years as a court musician in Bonn, he moved to Vienna to study with Joseph Haydn and remained there for the rest of his life. He was soon well known as both a virtuoso and a composer, and he became the first important composer to earn a successful living while forsaking employment in the church or court. He uniquely straddled the Classical and Romantic eras.
Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) was a Romantic and passionate composer, who frequently found inspiration from works of literature and the theatre. His Symphonie Fantastique reflects his obsessive love for an actress, and he used a recurring theme or "idée fixe" to depict his obsessive thoughts in the imaginative music.
Robert Schumann (1810-1856) was a composer of the Romantic Era who wrote symphonies, concertos, chamber music, piano works and many songs inspired by poetry. His wife Clara was also a respected pianist and composer. Tragically Schumann suffered from mental illness and died in an asylum.