A major new biography published for the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, offering a fresh, human portrayal. The iconic image of Beethoven is of him as a lone genius: hair wild, fists clenched, and brow furrowed. Beethoven may well have shaped the music of the future, but he was also a product of his time, influenced by the people, politics, and culture around him. Oxford scholar Laura Tunbridge offers an alternative history of Beethoven's career, placing his music in contexts that shed light on why particular pieces are valued more than others, and what this tells us about his larger-than-life reputation. Each chapter focuses on a period of his life, a piece of music, and a revealing theme, from family to friends, from heroism to liberty. We discover, along the way, Beethoven's unusual marketing strategies, his ambitious concert programming, and how specific performers and instruments influenced his works. This book offers new ways to understand Beethoven and why his music continues to be valued today.