10 of Beethoven’s close acquaintances and friends

We introduce you to some of Ludwig'ss close circle

Antonie Brentano: dedicatee of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations

Karl Alois, Prince Lichnowsky (1761-1814) 


One of the composer’s major patrons, described by him as ‘one of my most loyal friends’.

Antonie Brentano (1780-1869) 

Long-term companion, dedicatee of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations and, perhaps, the addressee of his ‘Immortal Beloved’ letter.

Stephan van Breuning (1774-1827) 

Civil servant, lifelong friend – first in Bonn and then Vienna – and a steady presence in Beethoven’s life. Dedicatee of the Violin Concerto.

Giovanni Malfatti (1775-1859) 

This esteemed doctor, for whom Beethoven wrote the cantata Un lieto brindisi, was one of the few medics he trusted. They fell out in 1817.

Josephine Brunsvik (1779-1821) 

Beethoven’s piano pupil and, after her husband Joseph died, increasingly the target of his affection.

Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838) 

Studied composition with Beethoven and assisted him as copyist, secretary and general companion.

Archduke Rudolf of Austria (1788-1831) 

Piano pupil and patron, his friendship with Beethoven was marked by the dedication of works including the Archduke Trio and Emperor Concerto.

Anselm Hüttenbrenner (1794-1868) 

The composer and pianist was one of only two people present at Beethoven side when he died.

Anton Schindler (1795-1864) 

Beethoven’s secretary from 1822-25 and first biographer. Some, including the composer himself, found him obsequious and over-protective.

Karl Holz (1798-1858) 

The second violinist of Ignaz Schuppanzigh’s string quartet, Holz took over as assistant to Beethoven after Schindler’s departure.

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