Interesting fact: He was a close friend of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's and teacher to Ludwig van Beethoven. After one year of instruction, Haydn stated in a letter to Beethoven’s patron that “Beethoven will one day be considered one of Europe’s greatest composers, and I shall be proud to be called his teacher." (Yep, I think he nailed that one on the head!)
Unfortunate tidbit: Haydn’s wife did not understand music and showed no interest in her husband’s work. Her disdain went to the extremes of using his manuscripts for pastry pan linings or curl papers.
Fortunate tidbit: The choirmaster at St. Stephen's Cathedral suggested Haydn become a castrato, but his father objected and the operation never went ahead. Haydn's voice broke the following year. (According to Classic FM.)
My takeaway: He was known for his humorous character and charming disposition. I think you can see the sparkle in his eyes and imagine him chuckling as he composes his famous "Surprise" — the sudden fortissimo chord in his Symphony No. 94.
Nickname: Papa (though he had no children, he was loved by all)
Biggest Fan: The Esterhazy family of Eisenstadt, Austria