He and his older sister, Maria Anna (‘Nannerl’) were the only two siblings to survive infancy.
Both children displayed amazing musical talent.
Whilst Nannerl was herself a gifted musician, young Wolfgang proved to be a prodigy of a higher order.
Leopold Mozart was one of Europe's leading musical teachers, a successful composer, and deputy ‘Kapellmeister’ to the court orchestra of the Archbishop of Salzburg.
He was also sole teacher to his children.
At age four, Wolfgang Amadeus had already stunned those around him by mastering the harpsichord, violin, and organ.
At five, he had written his first compositions.
"To some, I am the foremost keyboard player in Europe but to others, I am the overlooked sister of a genius.
I write music for the bottom drawer, while Papa is in Rome with Wolfie to enshrine my brother's talents.
I am destined for marriage, not a career."
- Nannerl Mozart
On January 12, 1762, Mozart, aged six, embarked on a tour with his father and sister that lasted three and a half years. Mozart and Nannerl played at the Imperial Courts in Vienna and Prague, and in the aristocratic salons of Europe and London.
During this time young Mozart met Johann Christian Bach, thought to be a great inspiration for some of his later works.
Mozart’s fluency and progress as a composer was astounding. By the age of thirteen he had written concertos, sonatas, symphonies, and both German and Italian operettas.
Further tours in Italy (1768–71) would see Mozart receive great acclaim for his works.
Time spent in Rome would also give rise to the widely told tale that Mozart, upon hearing Gregorio Allegri's ‘Miserere’ performed in the Sistine Chapel, transcribed the composition completely from memory.
Mozart - The Salzburg Years (next page...)
Mozart - The Vienna Years
Mozart - The Final Years