Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, or “Wolfgang Amadé,” as he called himself: his path from a child prodigy shuttled around Europe to a compositional genius of unparalleled brilliance is truly unique. Alone the sheer number of works to his name is astonishing enough: how could someone who lived a mere 35 years leave behind such an extraordinary oeuvre?

One can only wonder how Mozart found the time to write his 22 stage works, 54 symphonies, 6 violin concertos, and 24 string quartets (and that’s not nearly all of them) - a total of over 600 works. His entire compositional output required more than five miles of paper. With his ability to compose masterpieces in every musical genre whose radiance has only grown brighter over time, he was truly one of a kind. In his operas, Mozart created character portrayals that still speak to us today. During his lifetime he rarely received the recognition he deserved. But soon after his death in 1791, his work was viewed (at first only by other professional musicians) as the epitome of blithe and timeless beauty. Since then each new generation has discovered this great spirit for itself.

© Helmut Jasbar, ORF - Radio Österreich 1


  • 1765 - Plays for the King of England as a nine-year-old boy.

  • 1769 - Is appointed concertmaster to the archbishop of Salzburg. Pope Clement XIV confers on him the order of the Knight of the Golden Spur.

  • 1772-1777 - W. A. Mozart serves as concertmaster of the Salzburg court orchestra. Continues his concert tours.

  • 1779-1781 - Position as Salzburg court organist.

  • 1782 - After moving to Vienna, Mozart marries Constanze Weber despite opposition from his father.

  • 1787 - Emperor Joseph II favors Salieri as his court Kapellmeister, so Mozart must content himself with the title “Kammermusicus,” another post he would soon abandon.

  • 1790 - Premiere of Cosi fan tutte and last extended concert tour

  • .

  • 1791 - Premiere of The Magic Flute and La clemenza di Tito. His son Franz Xaver Wolfgang is born. Mozart starts writing the Requiem, but is no longer able to complete the work. On December 5, he dies at the age of 35 in Vienna.

Did you know?

  • Wolfgang Hildesheimer: “Mozart demonstrates better than anyone else that perfection is not born of serenity or the wisdom of old age.”

  • “I wrote Don Giovanni for myself and three friends.”

  • As Leopold Mozart recounted: “Wolferl sprang onto the empress’s (Marie Antoinette’s) lap, flung his arms around her neck, and kissed her heartily.”

  • Mozart is named a Knight of the Golden Spur by the Pope. He never uses the title “Knight von Mozart,” but does sign his name as “Knight von Pig’s Tail.”

  • Following the Viennese premiere of Don Giovanni, Emperor Joseph II receives Mozart. “So many notes!” “Your majesty,” Mozart replied, “not a single note too many!”

  • Mozart’s unique sense of humor: “I shall, in my own high person, compliment you, put a seal on your ass.”

  • The Mozartkugel (Mozart ball), originally mounted on a wooden stick and called the “Mozart Bonbon,” was created in 1890 by enterprising Salzburg confectioner Paul Fürst.

  • Beginning in 1940, Mozart’s skull has been kept in the Salzburg Mozarteum, though its authenticity has yet to be confirmed.