Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Born January 27, 1756 in Salzburg, Austria
Died December 5, 1791 in Vienna, Austria
Mozart wrote over 600 works during his lifetime, including 41 symphonies, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and 27 piano concertos. Three of his most famous operas include The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute and Don Giovanni. He is also famous for his Requiem mass.
Mozart was no doubt the greatest child star that ever lived. He was traveling all over Europe playing music by the time he was six. Because of his constant travels, Mozart eventually learned to speak fifteen different languages.
He wrote his first sonata for the piano when he was four and composed his first opera when he was twelve! Mozart could compose anywhere – at meals (he loved liver dumplings and sauerkraut), while talking to friends, while playing pool and even while his wife was having a baby. He composed very quickly and wrote huge amounts of music. It would take over 8 days to play all of his music, one piece after the next, without stopping. One famous piece that he wrote was Variations on “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”
One night a mysterious stranger came to his door dressed in gray to hire Mozart to write a requiem mass (a piece of music that choirs perform at funerals). Mozart, who was very afraid of ghosts and extremely superstitious, was terrified of the stranger who kept nagging him to finish the piece. He was already ill, and in his state of mind he became convinced that he was writing music for his own funeral.
During his lifetime, Mozart was very well-known but spent money faster than he could earn it. He was poor and in debt when he died of kidney failure at the age of 35 and was buried in an unmarked grave. Mozart is considered by some to be the greatest composer who ever lived. While most composers specialize in certain kinds of pieces, Mozart created masterful works for almost every category of music – vocal music, concertos, chamber music, symphonies, sonatas, and opera.