Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus (1756-91), Austrian composer, a centrally important composer of the classical era, and one of the most inspired composers in Western musical tradition.
Born January 27, 1756, in Salzburg, and baptized Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, he was educated by his father, Leopold Mozart, who was concertmaster in the court orchestra of the archbishop of Salzburg and a celebrated violinist, composer, and author.
Mozart's Musically Precocious Childhood
By the age of six Mozart had become an accomplished performer on the clavier, violin, and organ and was highly skilled in sight-reading and improvisation. Five short piano pieces composed by Mozart when he was six years old are still frequently played. In 1762 Leopold took Wolfgang on the first of many successful concert tours through the courts of Europe. During this period Wolfgang composed sonatas for the harpsichord and violin (1763), a symphony (1764), an oratorio (1766), and the opera buffa La finta semplice (The Simple Pretense, 1768). In 1769 Mozart was appointed concertmaster to the archbishop of Salzburg, and later in the same year, at La Scala (Milan, Italy), he was made a chevalier of the Order of the Golden Spur by the pope. He also composed his first German operetta, Bastien und Bastienne, in the same year. At the age of 14 he was commissioned to write a serious opera. This work, Mitridate, rč di Ponto (Mithridates, King of Pontus, 1770), produced under his direction at Milan, completely established an already phenomenal reputation.
The Mozarts returned to Salzburg in 1771. Hieronymus, count von Colloredo, the successor to the archbishop of Salzburg, who had died while the Mozarts were touring Italy, cared little for music. Mozart's appointment at Salzburg, however, proved to be largely honorary; it allowed ample time for a prodigious musical output during his next six years, but afforded little financial security. In 1777 Mozart obtained a leave of absence for a concert tour and left with his mother for Munich.
A Difficult Later Life
The courts of Europe ignored the 21-year-old composer in his search for a more congenial and rewarding appointment. He traveled to Mannheim, then the musical center of Europe because of its famous orchestra, in hopes of a post, and there fell in love with Aloysia Weber. Leopold promptly ordered his son and wife to Paris.
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart životopis
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