Young Vienna Music Conservatory student and aspiring composer finds her destiny forever interlinked with a legendary classical musician when she accepts a job as a copyist for Ludwig von Beethoven. In desperate need of a copyist to complete Beethoven (Ed Harris)'s "Ninth Symphony", Beethoven's ailing publisher Herr Schlemmer enlists the aid of ambitious student Anna Holz (Diane Kruger); who readily accepts the job despite an explicit warning that the composer is a callous wretch. As Anna begins to arduously copy Beethoven's career-defining work, her kindness causes the composer to view their collaboration as a blessing that will enable him to produce some of the most sublime music ever created. After thoughtlessly deriding Anna's own compositions and causing the sensitive assistant to abandon their collaboration, Beethoven must track her down and convince her to stay and work with him instead of moving to Vienna to marry Martin. Anna is forced to choose between love and duty.