Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was a prolific and highly influential Austrian composer of European classical music. His enormous output of more than six hundred compositions includes works that are widely acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music. Mozart is among the most enduringly popular of European classical composers, and many of his works are part of the standard concert repertory.

Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria to one of Europe’s leading music teachers, Leopold. Leopold began teaching Mozart the clavier, violin and organ at the age of three and Mozart’s first compositions were written when he was five. His father took his Wunderkind on several trips performing around Europe. However, reaching adulthood Mozart was unable to find a post in court and had fallen out of favor with the archbishop of Salzburg. He continued to compose debuting Idomeneo and The Abduction from the Seraglio in 1781 and 1782, also marrying a few days after the latter. Over the next nine years he composed works from almost every genre. Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro was well received, but only performed nine times. A trip to Prague produced Don Giovanni, two string quintets and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Despite the vast volumes of music he was creating, Mozart was having financial problems forcing him to perform concerts in Germany. Shortly before his death the Emperor of Austria commisioned Cosi fan Tutte. Mozart hoped the new Emperor might offer him a court position; however, his wish was unfulfilled and the next year he was commissioned to compose The Magic Flute. The same year he was commissioned by an anonymus patron to compose a Requiem. He paused work on the Requiem to compose Clemenza di Tito. When he resumed work on the Requiem his health, which had been failing became critical and he died in early December, leaving the Requiem to be finished by his pupil. He was buried in an unmarked grave in an unknown location. There are many theories regarding the circumstance surrounding Mozart’s death; however, none have ever been substantiated. Mozart’s prolific career remains an influence on popular contemporary music.

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