(September 11, 1786 – March 12, 1832) was a German-Danish composer during the Classical and Romantic periods. Born in Germany, after losing his right eye in a street accident at the age of seven, he studied piano in Hamburg. His father, grandfather, and uncle were military oboists. Even though Kuhlau was born to a poor family, his parents managed to pay for pianoforte lessons. In 1810, he fled to Copenhagen to avoid conscription in the Napoleonic Army, which overwhelmed the many small principalities and duchies of northern Germany, and in 1813 he became a Danish citizen. Considering that his house burned down destroying all of his unpublished manuscripts, he was a prolific composer leaving more than 200 published works in most genres.
While Kuhlau is generally regarded as a minor composer, in Denmark his opera Elverhøj is regarded as the national opera, and its overture enjoys particular popularity. It was used in the 1976 movie Olsen-banden ser rødt in the showdown of which, the Olsen gang bombs, drills, and hammers its way through the opera house's basement in synchronicity with the music.