Franz Joseph Hayd, (March 31,1732 – May 31, 1809), known as Joseph Haydn, was one of the most prominent and prolific composers of the Classical period.
He was instrumental in the development of chamber music such as the piano trio and his contributions to musical form have earned him the epithets “Father of the Symphony” and “Father of the String Quartet”.
A lifelong resident of Austria, Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family at their remote estate. This isolated him from other composers and trends in music until the later part of his life, when he was, as he put it, “forced to become original”. At the time of his death, aged 77, he was one of the most celebrated composers in Europe.
Joseph Haydn was the brother of Michael Haydn – himself a highly regarded composer – and Johann Evangelist Haydn, a tenor. He was also a friend of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and a teacher of Ludwig van Beethoven.