One of the greatest composers ever to have lived, Mozart died at just 35. But despite his short life, he wrote some of the most enduring and beloved pieces of classical music. A prodigy who spent much of his childhood touring Europe courting patrons and royalty, Mozart went on to compose music of sublime beauty, wit and skill. His legacy includes three famous operas with librettos by Lorenzo Da Ponte (The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan Tutte), 41 symphonies, 27 piano concertos, 26 string quartets… and that’s before we even get to the piano sonatas and church music.
Most notable works
The Marriage of Figaro
String Quintet in G minor
Symphonies Nos 38-41
A life in brief
1756 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is born on 27 January in Salzburg, Austria.
1763 The Mozart family sets out on its first tour of Europe, travelling through the major cities of Germany, France, The Netherlands, England, Switzerland and Belgium.
1769 La finta semplice is performed at court in May. In October he is appointed honorary concertmaster at the Salzburg court.
1775 Mozart turns away from court and church pieces to focus on instrumental and secular vocal music.
1782 Mozart marries Constanze Weber on 4 August. The next year they have their first child. Only two of their six children will survive infancy. Also in 1782 the opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail debuts and is a huge success.
1785 Artaria Editions publishes many of Mozart’s works, including six quartets dedicated to Haydn.
1787 Following the success of The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte collaborate on Don Giovanni. His father Leopold dies in May.
1791 Mozart becomes ill and dies on 5 December
Find out more about Mozart in our essay guide to his life