Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in 1756. His father was a musician, and young Mozart received a training in piano, violin and composition when he still was a child. He soon had his first employment as music director at the Salzburg court. For the rest of his life he had to struggle with his financial dependence on courtly institutions. After falling out with the mighty Salzburg archbishop, Mozart moved to Vienna where he worked for the rest of his life, always in search of assignments and money. He died at the age of 35. The cause of his death was not clearly determined, and presumptions range from syphilis to poisoning. Mozart is considered to be one of the most important classical composers; he definitely is the most famous one. He wrote more than 45 symphonies, 21 operas, 18 masses, numerous concertos for various instruments and orchestra, as well as chamber music and songs. His opera “Le nozze di Figaro” is, along with “Così fan tutte” and “Don Giovanni”, one of the three so-called da Ponte operas for which the Italian poet Lorenzo da Ponte wrote the libretto. Da Ponte had lived as priest in Venice for some time before he went to Vienna where he met Mozart. He later moved to London and finally immigrated to America. Da Ponte worked in various sectors of business. He started out as tobacco and brandy dealer, operated a fruit and vegetable store, worked as publisher and finally became professor for Italian literature at New York’s Columbia University. His funeral in 1838 was celebrated with great pomp and ceremony in New York.