Mozart – A Short Biography

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27th 1756 in Salzburg, Austria to Leopold Mozart, who was also a composer and violinist, and his wife Anna Maria Pertl. The couple had seven children but only two survived. Wolfgang Amadeus and Anna born in 1951.

The young Wolfgang showed musical promise from a very early age. At just 4 years old he could play the same pieces as his sister who was 5 years older than him. By the age of just 5 it is said that he had composed his very first minuet and that by the age of 9 he was composing symphonies. In 1792 Mozart’s father took both his children on a tour around Vienna, on the tour the family performed for members of the nobility. Anna played piano and Wolfgang played both the piano and the violin. A longer tour of Europe was planned by the children’s father in 1763 and the children again performed in various courts in several countries. At the age of 14 Mozart was commissioned to compose an opera – his very first – entitled Mitridate, re di Ponto.

Mozart’s father was keen for his son to make a living from his talent as part of a nobleman’s court rather than on his own as he considered this to be the more stable option, however it was difficult for Mozart to find such a position as most courts were not prepared to take on a composer so young – despite Mozart’s obvious talent. Eventually Mozart found employment in his late adolescence/early twenties with the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. He continued to look for work elsewhere as he found life in provincial Salzburg too limiting. He was also frustrated by his father, who sabotaged any chance of romance for the young Mozart, who was keen to keep his son working to earn enough to support the whole family.

In 1781 Mozart clashed bitterly with the Prince-Archbishop and resigned from his post. His father opposed the resignation but 25-year-old Mozart had finally had enough. Mozart moved to Vienna to work as a freelance composer and musician although he continued to look for a position with an aristocratic court. Mozart further angered his father by marrying Constanze Weber, a singer from a poor family in 1782.

For 9 years Mozart worked in Vienna composing and playing music but also teaching the subject. It was during his time in Vienna that he wrote some of his best-loved and most famous works. The later part of Mozart’s life was troubled with financial problems. Despite a growing reputation as a composer he never seemed to have enough money. The death of his father also troubled him greatly particularly as the two men were never fully reconciled after Mozart left for Vienna against his father’s wishes. At the age of just 35 in 1791 Mozart died from what was known as a ‘military’ fever.


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