Born on March 31, 1732 in Rohrau, Austria, Franz Joseph Haydn's father was a wheelwright, his mother a former cook. The second child of his parents, Haydn began to display musical talent early on in life, wanting to give him the training he needed, his parents agreed to let their cousin, a principal and choirmaster in Hainburg, take Haydn to the school at age six.
Haydn's experience in Hainburg was good for his musical abilities, but bad for his soul. The young boy was often left without much to eat during his time there, and was not given the same love he might have received from his parents. When the musical director of a church in Vienna offered to take Haydn as a chorister at age eight, his parents accepted.
Haydn spent nine years at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, but when his voice changed, he was expelled from the school. Haydn began doing odd jobs to make money, and taught himself music theory, eventually he worked his way up to becoming the musical director for count Ferdinand Maximilian von Morzin. It was in this position that he composed his first symphony.
Haydn's wife Anna. Unauthenticated miniature attributed to Ludwig Guttenbrunn (Burgenländisches Landesmuseum)
In 1760 he married Maria Anna Aloisia Appolonia Keller, they never had children. A year later, Haydn became assistant music director for Esterhazy family, his kindness to the staff and good nature here earned him the title "Papa" by many of the musicians and later earned him the post of musical director.