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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was one of the greatest composers in the world. He is regarded as a musical genius and succeeded at many accomplishments during his shortened life.

Wolfgang was born on January 27, 1756, in Salzburg, Austria. Salzburg is located near the Alps.

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Young Wolfgang
Wolfgang was christened Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus. The Latin name for Theophilus is Amadeus. Wolfgang was called Wolferl by his family.

Wolfgang was a child prodigy. At age three, Wolfgang played the harpsichord -- to reach the keyboard, he sat in a highchair. At age four, he began to compose piano pieces and played the violin. At age five, Wolfgang began composing minuets, and at age nine, he began composing symphonies.

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Musical Genius
Wolfgang produced over 600 musical works. This is more works than most composers produce, and other composers live much longer than Wolfgang.

Wolfgang had amazing talents which far exceeded those of other musicians. He was able to:

     compose music in his head. He would imagine a piece of music and then play it without having to write it down first.

      write down music flawlessly. His original manuscripts are in perfect handwriting without corrections.

      recreate a piece of music after hearing it only once.

      write out new musical ideas quickly and easily.

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Wolfgang's Music
Wolfgang wrote music in every form and style. He wrote operas, symphonies, concertos, chamber music, piano music, piano sonatas, violin sonatas, string quartets, and church music. He was a master of every type of music he wrote.

Each piece of Wolfgang's music had complex emotional elements, such as joy, grief, rage, and suffering. He expressed psychological insight into the characters in his operas. This was not typical in operas written by other composers.

Wolfgang wrote 19 operas, including The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, The Magic Flute, and Così fan tutte. He wrote 103 minuets, 55 symphonies, and 39 concertos.

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Changing the Rules
During Wolfgang's life, musicians were considered servants. To make a living, musicians were hired by the royal courts or wealthy patrons to compose a specific piece of music for a specific sum of money. They were not free to compose works independently.

Wolfgang changed these rules by changing the way society perceived musicians. He went against the established society and tried to be a freelance composer. After Wolfgang, musicians were considered artists rather than servants.

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Wolfgang's Influence
The Classical Period of music ranged from 1750 to 1820. During this time, Wolfgang and Joseph Haydn developed the grand forms of symphony, opera, string quartet, and concerto.

Wolfgang's music influenced many composers. He affected the later works of Joseph Haydn and the next generation of composers, including Ludwig van Beethoven.

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Remembering Wolfgang
Wolfgang died on Monday, December 5, 1791, in his wife's arms in Vienna, Austria. It was 1:00 in the morning. He was 35 years old.

The next day, there was a service for Wolfgang at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna. This is the same church were he and his wife were married nine years earlier. Wolfgang is buried at St. Marx's Cemetery outside Vienna in an unmarked grave.

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Honoring Wolfgang
Wolfgang is honored and remembered in Austria and around the world. There are memorials to Wolfgang in both Salzburg and Vienna. Today, his boyhood home in Salzburg is a museum.

Every year, Salzburg has a Mozart festival. Other cities also have festivals where Wolfgang's music is celebrated and played. Wolfgang's music and operas are still popular and performed throughout the world.

Many cities throughout the United States perform Mozart festivals, including Mainly Mozart in San Diego and OK Mozart in Oklahoma.

Wolfgang was a brilliant composer, musical genius, and hero in our hearts.

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