"Beethoven directed the piece himself; that is, he stood before the lectern and gesticulated furiously. At times he rose, at other times he shrank to the ground, he moved as if he wanted to play all the instruments himself and sing for the whole chorus. All the musicians minded his rhythm alone while playing."
- Violinist Josef Böhm, on the premiere performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony
If you want to learn something interesting, read Beethoven's wikipedia page. Better yet, read this biography -- of which is dedicated solely to the composition and premiere of Beethoven's 9th, marking Beethoven's last days.
As someone with a generally confused attitude towards classical music, I jumped at the opportunity to attend the Utah's Symphony's concert featuring Beethoven's 9th earlier this fall. Eager to wet my toes with another experience in classical music, I went and I listened and my interest was piqued, indefinitely.
Beethoven is best known for the supreme irony that was the last several years of his life: he was a composer of music and yet, completely deaf. Growing up with weekly piano lessons, I became well versed in the story of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. After the orchestra had finished the music, Beethoven had to be turned around to see the crowd standing and applauding his work. He heard nothing.
He was a revolutionary with lively hair that wrote beautiful music, someone definitely worth remembering.