13 Fun and Weird Facts About Classical Composers

13 Fun and Weird Facts About Classical Composers

Baraa Al-Jasim

  1. Edvard Greig

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The Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg, rubbed a frog figurine in his pocket for good luck before concerts. 


  1. Franz Joseph Haydn

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Franz Joseph Haydn had a great sense of humor that got him into serious trouble. When he was a teenager, he cut off one of the pigtails of a fellow choir boy (choir boys during this time wore their hair in pigtails), which led him to be expelled. He also has 2 skulls laying in his tomb. His head was stolen and a replacement skull was put in his tomb. When the real skull was restored in 1954, the substitute wasn’t removed.


  1. Franz Shubert

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The Austrian composer, Franz Shubert, was 5’1” earning him the name “Schwammerl,” which means “Little Mushroom,” given to him by his friends due to his short height.


  1. Ludwig Van Beethoven

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Ludwig Van Beethoven endured severe punishment from his drunken father during his childhood. As a result, Beethoven developed obsessive tendencies. He was so meticulous that he counted 60 coffee beans each time he drank a cup of coffee (and he drank A LOT of coffee).


  1. Richard Strauss

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The German composer, Richard Strauss, was on the cover of Time Magazine in 1927 and 1938.


  1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote the Overture To Don Giovanni on the morning of the concert while having a hangover from drinking too much the night before.


  1. Robert Schumann

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Robert Schumann plunged his hands in a slaughtered animal’s internal organs or intestines to heal his ailments. (He came from a family with a long line of psychological issues).


  1. Alexander Borodin

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Alexander Borodin was also a chemist, doctor, and major partier along with being a composer. He died due to a heart attack because of dancing too hard at a ball. 


  1. Jean-Baptiste Lully

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The Italian composer, Jean-Baptiste Lully, hit a staff on the ground to keep time when the orchestra plays. One time, he missed the ground and hit his foot. The stab created a deep wound that led to a condition called gangrene (dead tissue due to an infection/lack of blood flow), which caused his death.


  1. Orlando de Lassus

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The Belgian composer, Orlando de Lassus, was kidnapped 3 times as a child for other choirs because of his beautiful voice.


  1.  Camille Saint Saens

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The French composer, Saint Saens, participated in the Astronomical Society of France. He also had a personalized telescope of his own.  


  1. Domenico Scarlatti

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Domenico Scarlatti composed his “cat fugue” after his cat, Pulcinella, walked across his keyboard.


  1. Arnold Schoenberg 

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Arnold Schoenberg suffered from Triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13 even though he was born on September 13. When he was 76 years old, a friend told him that 7 plus 6 is 13, which convinced him that he would not survive to 77.  He died later that week on Friday, July 13, 1951. His fears came true.


Extra: Chicken on cellist

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During the performance of Boris Godunov at the Sydney Opera House, a chicken fell off the stage onto a cellist. (XD)