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A remarkable musician and composer whose legend continues to grow more than two centuries after his death Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg Austria in 1756 Before the age of four he had exhibited such extraordinary powers of musical memory and ear-sophistication that his father Leopold a highly esteemed violinist and composer in his own right decided to sign young Wolfgang up for harpsichord lessons Almost from day one the boys reputation as an unexampled musical prodigy grew faster than wildfire At five he was composing music at six he was a keyboard virtuoso so much so that Leopold took Wolfgang and his sister Maria Anna on a performance tour of Munich and Vienna From that time on young Mozart was constantly performing and writing music He was the toast of Austria and gave many concerts of prepared works and improvisation Wherever he appeared people gaped in awe at his divine gifts By his early teens he had mastered the piano violin and harpsichord and was writing keyboard pieces oratorios symphonies and operas His first major opera seria Mitridate was performed in Milan in 1770 when he was still only fourteen to such unqualified raves that critics compared him to Handel At fifteen Mozart was installed as the concertmaster in the orchestra of the Archbishop of Salzburg Things did not go very well Mozart didnt get along with the Archbishop and relations deteriorated to the point where in 1781 he quit this lofty position and headed for Vienna - quite against his fathers wishes Now a grown man Mozart initially thrived in Vienna He was in great demand as a performer and composition teacher and his first opera The Abduction from the Seraglio was a hit But life was not easy He was a poor businessman and finances were always tight especially after his marriage to Constanze Weber Political infighting at the Vienna court kept him from the patronage that composers of the period
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