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