Mozart showed prodigious ability from his earliest 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 engaged as a court musician in Salzburg, but grew restless and travelled in search of a better position, always composing abundantly. While visiting Viennain 1781, he was dismissed 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, he composed 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. The circumstances 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 a brilliance and maturity of style that encompassed the light and graceful along with the dark and passionate. His influence on subsequent Western art music is profound. Beethoven wrote his own early compositions in the shadow of Mozart, and Joseph Haydn wrote that "posterity will not seesuch a talent again in 100 years."
Family and early years
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born to Leopold and Anna Maria Pertl Mozart at 9 Getreidegasse in Salzburg, capital of the sovereign Archbishopric of Salzburg in what is now Austria, but then was part of the Holy Roman Empire. His only sibling to survive infancy was his elder sister Maria Anna (1751–1829), nicknamed "Nannerl".Mozart was baptized the day after his birth at St. Rupert's Cathedral. The baptismal record gives his name in Latinized form as Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. He generally called himself "Wolfgang Amadè Mozart" as an adult, but there were many variants.
His father (1719–1787) was from Augsburg. He was deputy Kapellmeister to the court orchestra of the Archbishop of Salzburg, aminor composer, and an experienced teacher. In the year of Mozart's birth, his father published a violin textbook, Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule, which achieved success.
1762–1773: Years of travel
During Mozart's youth, his family made several European journeys in which he and Nannerl performed as child prodigies. These began with an exhibition, in 1762, at the court of thePrince-elector Maximilian III of Bavaria in Munich, and at the Imperial Court in Vienna and Prague. A long concert tour spanning three and a half years followed, taking the family to the courts of Munich, Mannheim, Paris, London, The Hague, again to Paris, and back home via Zurich, Donaueschingen, and Munich. During this trip, Mozart met a great number of musicians and acquainted himself with the worksof other composers. A particularly important influence was Johann Christian Bach, whom Mozart visited in London in 1764 and 1765. The family again went to Vienna in late 1767 and remained there until December 1768. In 1767, during this period, he composed the Latin drama Apollo et Hyacinthus first performed in Salzburg University.
These trips were often difficult and travel conditions wereprimitive. The family had to wait for invitations and reimbursement from the nobility and they endured long, near-fatal illnesses far from home.
After one year in Salzburg, father and son set off for Italy, leaving Mozart's mother and sister at home. This travel lasted from December 1769 to March 1771. As with earlier journeys, Mozart's father wanted to display his son's abilities as a performer and a...