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A harsh childhood
BONN, Monument to Beethoven. 1780
I suffered from an unhappy childhood for a long time.
I isolated myself from my harsh family life and my
schoolmates. Even as a child, I was a loner. I did not talk to anyone and preferred to avoid other people. I could not concentrate on my studies, but I threw myself passionately into piano exercises. Besides,
my father was always drunk and lacked the initiative to turn my music into gold. I became good enough to give my first public concert when I was only seven years old, which was a real success. One day, Christian Neefe, a court musician, was so impressed; he was to become my teacher, who would lead me on
the path to greatness. He taught me the music of Bach and Haydn, and I was enthusiastic. At the age of ten, I left school to dedicate myself to music completely. I was inspired by the fervent cultural climate of the Enlightenment at the end of the century, a period that allowed me to break the rules of
music, as other personalities were breaking them in other fields. Towards adolescence, I became anxious to break free from the conventions of the music that historians of your time call 'classical'; I said no more to music as the sole form of entertainment for noble families. For me, music had the power to transform human beings.
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