Mozart showed prodigious ability from hisearliest childhood in Salzburg. Already competent on keyboard and violin, he composed from the age of five and performed before European royalty. At 17, he was engagedas a court musician in Salzburg, but grew restless and travelled in search of a better position, always composing abundantly. While visiting Vienna in 1781, he wasdismissed from his Salzburg position. He chose to stay in the capital, where he achieved fame but little financial security. During his final years in Vienna, hecomposed many of his best-known symphonies, concertos, and operas, and portions of the Requiem, which was largely unfinished at the time of Mozart's death. Thecircumstances of his early death have been much mythologized. He was survived by his wife Constanze and two sons.
Mozart learned voraciously from others, and developed abrilliance and maturity of style that encompassed the light and graceful along with the dark and passionate. His influence on subsequent Western art music isprofound. Beethoven wrote his own early compositions in the shadow of Mozart, and Joseph Haydn wrote that "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years."