—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was one of the most prolific and influential composers in the history of classical music. During his 35 years of life, he composed more than 600 works, many of which have been hailed as masterpieces of Western music.
Beginning just three years after his birth in Salzburg, Austria, Wolfgang was tutored in music by his father, Leopold Mozart, who was a successful composer and musician for the court in Salzburg. By age five, Wolfgang had exceeded his father’s expertise; by six, he was performing on tour for European royalty as a child prodigy; and by 13, he had composed dozens of sonatas, concertos and symphonies. He continued to write music throughout his youth and early adulthood, creating hundreds of works that are celebrated as some of the greatest pieces of choral, operatic and symphonic music ever written.
In 1781, Mozart relocated to Vienna, where he soon achieved acclaim as a composer and as the “finest keyboard player” in the city. Although he occasionally toured throughout Europe to promote his music, Vienna was his home for the remainder of his life. Here he met his wife, Constanze, with whom he had six children, only two of whom survived infancy. It was also here that he experienced the height of his success, as well as the lowest points of his life and career. As is the case with many artists, Mozart’s success waxed and waned, especially during the late 18th century, when the country struggled through a war with the Ottoman Empire which drastically limited the time and money Austrian royalty could contribute to the arts.
The final year of Mozart’s short life was one of his most productive. In the months before his death, he composed some of his best-known works: the motet “Ave Verum Corpus,” the opera "Die Zauberflöte" ("The Magic Flute"), and his unfinished “Requiem.” After battling a mysterious illness for three months, Mozart died on December 5, 1791.
Words will never convey the majesty of Mozart’s music, but his notes have lived across centuries and resonated in the hearts of millions.
Great Music. Pass It On!
This billboard about Great Music features Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.