(Franz) Joseph Haydn born 31 March 1732 – died 31 May 1809) was a prominent and prolific composer of the Classical period. He was instrumental in the development of chamber music such as the piano trio and his contributions to musical form have earned him the epithets "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet".
Haydn spent much of his career as a court musician for the wealthy Esterházy family at their remote estate. Until the later part of his life, this isolated him from other composers and trends in music so that he was, as he put it, "forced to become original". At the time of his death, aged 77, he was one of the most celebrated composers in Europe.
Joseph Haydn was the brother of Michael Haydn – himself a highly regarded composer – and Johann Evangelist Haydn, a tenor. He was also a friend of Mozart and a teacher of Beethoven.