Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was an Austrian composer. Christened Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus, Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria, on January 27, 1756. Mozart was educated at home by his father, Leopold Mozart, a well-known violinist.
Mozart had harpsichord lessons at three, composed at four, and by the time he was seven played the harpsichord, organ, and the violin. He wrote two sets of sonatas for the harpsichord and the violin, which were published in France when he was seven. Mozart also composed two symphonies in England when he was eight, an opera buffa at eleven, la finta semplice for Joseph II of Austria, and opera seria at fourteen, Mitridate, re di Ponto. During Mozart's short life he wrote more than forty symphonies, twenty-two operas, twenty-three string quartets, twenty-five concertos for the piano and orchestra, and thirty-five sonatas for violin and piano. There are over six hundred and twenty-six known works.
Mozart is often thought of as simply transcribing music sent to him by God, but this view obscures the amount of work he put in on honing his craft. He spent hours in practice at the keyboard, and studying and copying out the music of others. He wrote in a letter to his father, "People make a great mistake who think that my art has come easily to me. Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to compositions as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not studied over and over." 
Mozart's style typified the Classical era of music, although he increasingly incorporated contrapuntal arrangments into his work as he got older. He worked mainly in forms that had previously been invented, but virtually invented the piano concerto. In addition to being a great composer, he was also well known as a pianist (his favorite instrument), although never a virtuoso unlike his contemporary Clementi.
Mozart married Constanze Weber in 1782 against the wishes of his father; she remained his wife and muse until his premature death nine years later.
Mozart died in Vienna on December 5, 1791, at the age of 35.
- Wright, Craig. Listening to Music: Fourth Edition. p. 177.