Not a classical music buff? No need to be. Chances are you’ve probably heard of Mozart whether you’ve realized it or not.
This Austrian composer is heralded as one of the most influential musical prodigies of all time. He authored operas, concertos, symphonies, and sonatas with poignant emotion and remarkable sophistication.
Born in 1756 in Salzburg, Austria, it was clear from a young age that Mozart was destined for a life in music. His teacher was his father, Leopold, who quickly picked up on Mozart’s extraordinary gift for music and worked to refine his son into the musical genius we know him to be. By 5, he had already taken to composing. He was a brilliant pianist and violinist from an early age, and as he started traveling for performances, soon all of Europe agreed.
Despite achieving acclaim and financial success, Mozart found himself in financial strains during the mid-1780s. He was known for his lavish tastes and extravagant lifestyle. Eager to start earning more money, Mozart set his eyes on a court appointment. In 1787, his ambitions were realized. Emperor Joseph II awarded Mozart the position of “chamber composer” in 1787.
His financial situation, however, did not improve. He was forced to move his family and himself into a more affordable part of Vienna. His lavish spending did not change, prompting Mozart to borrow money from friends. The 1870s were a difficult period for Mozart, finding himself in depression and prolonged financial troubles.
Although the early 1790s proved a creative, productive, and somewhat lucrative period for Mozart, he saw his mental and physical health coming apart. On December 5, 1791, Mozart died from what is speculated to be some sort of fever. He was 35 years old.
Written by DANK Haus intern, Kat M.