January 27, 1756 - December 5, 1791
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria, where his father Leopold was a violinist and composer. Wolfgang (or Wolferl, as his family called him) was a child prodigy. He composed his first piece of music at age five; he had his first piece published when he was seven; and he wrote his first opera when he was twelve. By the time Wolfgang was 6, he was an excellent pianist and violinist. He and his sister Maria Anna (known as Nannerl) traveled all over Europe performing for royalty.
When he grew up, Mozart moved to Vienna, and tried to earn a living as a pianist and composer. But he had a lot of trouble handling the fact that he was no longer a child prodigy. Mozart was still a musical genius, but after he stopped being a cute kid, people stopped making a big fuss over him. Back then, musicians were treated like servants, but Mozart did not, and could not think of himself as a servant.
Mozart was only 35 when he died. During his short life, he composed in all different musical forms, including operas, symphonies, concertos, masses, and chamber music. Today, he is still considered a genius!
See other composers from the Classical period