Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(1756-1791)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was one of the greatest composers the world has ever known; whose legend continues to grow more than two centuries after his death. A prodigy already in his early childhood, he was a successful musician during his whole lifetime - even when giving up his safe employment and working as a free-lance artist. 3720 of the 13097 days of his short life Mozart spent traveling, still most of his compositions originated in Salzburg, the town where he was born and lived until 1781, and in Vienna, where he spent the last 10 years of his life.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756 at the Hagenauersches Haus in Salzburg, Austria. Here he learned to play the violin and the harpsycord and he made his first compositions. Until 1773 he was completely under the direction of his father and he did not go to school. Mozart was a child prodigy and his father sought to develop that great musical talent he had acquired at an extremely young age.

Before the age of four, he had exhibited such extraordinary powers of musical memory and ear-sophistication that his father, Leopold decided to sign young Mozart up for harpsichord lessons. At the age of five, he was already composing music.

By the time Mozart was six, he was keyboard virtuoso, so much so that his father took him on a performance tour of Munich and Vienna. From that time on, young Mozart was constantly performing and writing music. He was the toast of Austria, and gave many concerts of prepared works and improvisation. Wherever Mozart appeared, people gazed in awe at his divine gifts.

By Mozart's early teens, he had mastered the piano, violin and harpsichord. He was writing keyboard pieces, oratorios, symphonies and operas. Mozart was positioned as the concertmaster in the orchestra of the Archbishop of Salzburg. Things did not go very well; Mozart didn't get along with the Archbishop, and relations weakened to the point where, in 1781, he quit this prominent position and headed for Vienna against his fathers wishes.

Now a grown man, Mozart initially prospered in Vienna. He was in
great demand as a performer and a composition teacher. But life was not
easy. Because of his talents of music, he changed Vienna into the musical capital of Europe.

At last, he married with Contanze Weber, sister of the singer who rejected his love. Mozart and Weber had two sons, Karl Thomas and Franz Xavier. He needed to support his family, he composed operas, symphonies, etc. Mozart composed four operas: The Abduction from the Seraglio(1782), The Marriage of Figaro(1786), Don Giovanni(1787) and Cos fan tutte(1790) which were very popular in Vienna. Some composers in Vienna, (i.e. Figaro and Antonia Salieri) competed with him, but Mozart was beat all of them.

Mozart was a poor businessman, and finances were always tight, especially after his marriage to Constanze Weber. Political infighting at the Vienna court kept him from the patronage that composers of the period so relied upon, and he descended to a life of genteel poverty.

Toward the end of 1787 Mozart moved downtown , a half year later to the suburb again. At Währinger Strasse, Mozart composed his final symphonies: E flat major, G minor, and C major. Mozart's performances became more and more rare by this time. His financial
situation was always critical, and he ran into debts again and again.

Early in 1789, Mozart moved again, this time to the house "Zur Mutter Gottes" at Judenplatz. Then Mozart traveled to Berlin and
stayed there from April to June. King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia commissioned him with some minor compositions but he did not
complete all of them. At the house "Zur Mutter Gottes" he composed the clarinet quintet and the opera "Così fan tutte" which has its premiere on January 26, 1890 at the k.k. National theater.

On February 20, 1790 Emperor Joseph II died in Vienna. He is succeeded by Leopold II who is to be crowned German Emperor in
Frankfurt in October. Mozart traveled to the coronation celebrations in company of his brother-in-law. However he did not have the
artistic success he had hoped for and he was very disappointed.

While Mozart stays in Frankfurt, his wife moved to