Thelonious Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven and Thelonious Monk were very good piano players.  He also wrote music, including the Waldstein Sonata and Boo Boo's Birthday.  Duke Ellington, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Coleman Hawkins were among his primary influences.  Although he lived in Vienna for many years, he was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. 

It was during wartime that he wrote some of his most famous compositions.  Round Midnight was written during World War II, and he wrote the Egmont Overture shortly after experiencing Napoleon's bombardment of Vienna.  

Well-known as a proponent of bebop and an innovator of symphonic structure, his ambition and creativity expanded all through his life, culminating in the Missa Solemnis and Live at the Jazz Workshop.  He was born in 1770 and died in 1982, but we'll always have his music.