Image by Stiftung Mozarteum/Christian Schneider

“When the angels praise God in Heaven I am sure they play Bach. However, en famille they play Mozart, and then God the Lord is especially delighted to listen to them.”
– Karl Barth

Image by Stiftung Mozarteum/Christian Schneider

2021 marks the 265th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

There is a Mozart spell which has lasted for centuries. Humanity has been endowed with a series of immortal works in several genres by the famous genius who was an extremely prolific composer. Experts try to further analyse and decipher his works and art all over the world on the 265th anniversary of his birth. There are almost no other composers whose work can be sold so successfully and in so many ways. His legend is retained by musicals, ballets, plays as well as cartoon series.

In 1986, Falco, the Austrian pop star, even hit the American charts with his Rock me Amadeus song. The film Amadeus by Milos Forman became the most successful film of 1984 with eight Oscars, and all performances of the Mozart musical was performed in front of a packed house at the Theatre an der Wien. Mozart’s music can also be heard in several films (for example, The Shawshank Redemption, The King’s Speech, Face/Off, Alien, Batman, Charlie’s Angels).

The cult of Mozart continues to flourish today. A lot of things are named after him, such as the famous Salzburg Mozarteum, confectionery, café, holiday cruiser, flower; he inspired several pop songs, and asteroids have been named after the characters of his operas. His portrait cannot only be seen on the Austrian 1 euro coin (€1), but also on the famous Salzburg Mozart ball. In addition, countless biographical works, novels and legends have been born inspired by one of the greatest geniuses in the music world, all of which testify to the appeal of the Mozart brand, valued today at around €5 billion.

An extraordinary genius who learned to compose sooner than to write

Mozart portait by Johann Nepomuk della Croce

“When I listen to his music, it is as if I am doing a good deed. It is difficult to convey what exactly his beneficial influence on me consists of, but it is undoubtedly beneficial, and the longer I live, the closer I get to know him, the more I love him.”
– Tchaikovsky

During his short but rather prolific life, Mozart composed more than six hundred works: the first at the age of 5, the last on his deathbed. The prodigy of Salzburg has endowed humanity with a series of chamber music, symphonies, operas and piano concerts that have become the brightest masterpieces of not only classical music but all art. We can still hear Mozart’s melodies all over the world today.

He was one of the greatest figures in music history, already composing before he learned to write. He also learned to play the violin in a few days, on his own. At the age of five and a half, he was already performing on stage, and at the age of six, his fame has spread all over Europe, and he was hosted by French and English royal families. In Vienna, he also fascinated Emperor Francis, who was begging for him for more and more feats. He made him play the piano with one finger or just blindfolded, but little Wolfgang passed all the tests.

Mozart composed with amazing ease while talking, eating, and even while listening to the music of others, and even so, there are no corrections in his music scores. One of his most popular works, the Eine kleine Nachtmusik was put on paper in just one day. At the same time, he drove his staff crazy because he only finished the musical scores at the last minute. For example, they received Don Giovanni’s overture only on the day of the show. He could memorize entire pieces of music at first hearing. According to the legend, at the age of fourteen, he heard Allegri Miserere in the Sistine Chapel, whose musical score was treated as a top secret. He memorized the quarter-hour piece, performed only once a year, and he put it down as soon as he got back to his lodgings. The music-loving pope did not curse him but honoured the young genius.

MoWo2021 – Wolfgang Lienbacher

Salzburg, The City of Mozart

Mozart was born in 1756, in Salzburg. His former residence on Makartplatz and his birthplace in the middle of Getreidegasse are museums that keep the memories of his extraordinary childhood. Mozart is still present in Salzburg today: his memory is preserved by a lot of concerts, festivals and guides. The city where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born and raised is rightly called the city of Mozart. Visitors coming here stumble upon Mozart’s footsteps in every corner. One of the most popular museums in Austria is Mozart’s birthplace on Getreidegasse in Salzburg. Mozart’s house reopened on January 26, 1996. From 1773 to 1787, the Mozart family lived at the so-called “Dance Master’s House”, standing on today’s Makartplatz. The spacious eight-room apartment on the first floor is now home to a museum. The original musical instruments, furniture and portraits, as well as a faithfully reconstructed civic apartment, invite you to an authentic 18th-century time travel.

In addition to Mozart’s clavichord, a lot of original documents and portraits are displayed in the museum. The exhibition presents the interesting history of the house, Mozart’s years in Salzburg and the life of the Mozart family. We can find out more about the genius’s oeuvre through a multi-visual show temporary extraordinary exhibitions, concerts and performances.

The history of the Mozarteum Foundation is also presented here. Mozart’s musical heritage is preserved in his hometown by countless concert series and festivals, as well as Mozart Week events.

Mozart in Vienna

After spending years in Salzburg that determined his entire life, Mozart moved to Vienna, where he spent his most creative and successful years. Around 1790, with the premiere of the Così fan tutte, he finally reached the top of his career. Soon after one of his last successful operas, La Clemenza di Tito, performed in Prague on September 6, 1791, and the premiere of The Magic Flute in Vienna (Freihaustheater), Mozart became seriously ill. He died on December 5, 1791, at the age of 35. His last work, the Requiem, remained unfinished. His body was consecrated in Stephansdom. The unforgettable Genius found his final resting place in St. Marx Cemetery. Aligned with the customs of his age, he was buried in a common grave together with other dead, without a grave cross. He still hasn’t been forgotten and will remain a legend forever.

The city of Vienna has not remained ungrateful either, the great genius will forever be remembered. For visitors, Mozart’s life comes alive at the Mozarthaus in Vienna through special multimedia presentations. In the Haus der Musik, a separate room has been set up for Mozart in which, among the original objects related to the composer’s life, visitors are provided the opportunity to conduct Mozart’s “Little Night Music” with the help of the Vienna Philharmonic.

If you walk in the Burg garden, you can see the Mozart Monument, created by architect Carl König and sculptor Viktor Tilgner in 1896. The monument is surrounded by a note key-shaped floral composition. The largest cemetery in Vienna, the Vienna Central Cemetery, has been housing an additional Mozart monument among the ornamental tombs since 1891, in the immediate vicinity of Beethoven, Strauss and other great composers.

And if you’re in Vienna, you must see the Mozart Fountain, also known as the “Magic Flute Fountain”, as the bronze figures in the sculpture group depict the main characters of the opera, Tamino playing the flute and Pamina cuddling to him.

The world-famous genius

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is without a doubt one of the most famous composers in the world. He wrote a total of 626 pieces of music, composing three operas, six symphonies and hundreds of other works by the age of twelve. His genius not only impressed his contemporaries, but thanks to his unique works, he still has an impact today.

“A phenomenon like Mozart remains an inexplicable thing.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation

For more than two and a half centuries Wolfgang Amadé Mozart has fascinated people all over the world through his music and his personality. The Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation is the world’s leading institution aimed at preserving and disseminating this priceless cultural legacy. It also seeks to make the world aware of Mozart’s manifold facets by opening up access to his music and to introduce his life and personality to everyone, regardless of their age.

A non-profit-making organization, the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation engages with the figure of Mozart as both man and artist and to this end has established initiatives in three key areas, organizing concerts, running Mozart museums and pursuing research, in that way building a bridge between the preservation of a tradition and the promotion of contemporary culture. Its aim is to open up different perspectives and encourage new ideas in our engagement with the composer.  The Mozart Week Festival was established in 1956 with the goal of celebrating Mozart’s birthday each January. Rolando Villazón is the artistic director of this world’s most important Mozart festival until 2023.

The Society of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation was established as the International Mozarteum Foundation in 1880 by the townspeople of Salzburg, although its origins date back to the Cathedral Music Society and Mozarteum that was set up in 1841. Mozart’s widow Constanze and their two sons Carl Thomas and Franz Xaver Wolfgang donated much of their estate to the Society. As a result, the Mozarteum Foundation owns the world’s largest collection of original letters, portraits and instruments once in the possession of the Mozart family.

A network of Mozart communities under the auspices of the Mozarteum Foundation is also active internationally. Approximately 80 Mozart communities worldwide have as their common goal the cultivation and dissemination of Mozart’s musical heritage. The goal is supported through a variety of activities as well as artistic and scholarly collaborations relating to the life and works of Mozart, whether in a concert setting or fostering one of the numerous Mozart sites.