Joseph Haydn

Fun Facts

  • Beginning his musical career as a choirboy, Haydn's voice changed when he was sixteen and he was kicked out.

  • Haydn had a mischievous streak, and as a boy, he cut off the pigtail of a fellow choir member as a joke!

  • Haydn was largely self-taught, studying the works of prominent composers and manuals of music theory.

  • Haydn thought that his operas were his best music.

  • Mostly isolated from other composers and musical trends, Haydn worked for the Hungarian royal family, the Esterházys, for 30 years. 

  • Haydn suffered from nasal polyps, which gave his nose a rather bulbous and disfigured look. At times, it became so uncomfortable that he wasn't able to compose.

  • Haydn is credited with inventing the string quartet.

  • Though he was considered the greatest composer of his day, Haydn felt that title should go to Mozart.

  • Mozart and Haydn had a close relationship and a deep mutual regard. 

  • Haydn composed over 340 hours of music in his lifetime.

  • Haydn's sense of humor made its way into his compositions with false endings and surprises for the audience.

  • When Napoleon invaded Vienna in 1809, Haydn was such a respected figure across Europe that two of Napoleon's sentries were put on guard so that he wouldn't have to move in his old age.

  • After Haydn's death, his head was stolen by phrenologists who wished to study it.

  • Michael, Haydn's younger brother, also a composer,  was the one that his family most expected to be successful.

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Fun Facts

Check out our collection of interesting and (some) little known facts about Haydn.


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