Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
1756 - 1791
Born on January 27th 1756 in Salzburg, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the most famous composers of the Western art music tradition. A composer of the Classical era, his music was particularly influential for its development and establishment of the compositional forms. His developments to sonata form brought new levels to its emotional capabilities and he almost single-handedly invented and popularised the piano concerto. Whilst he achieved significant fame, he never managed to gain financial security. He lived a very short life before dying on December 5th 1791, only 35 years of age. His output consists of over 600 works many of which are seen as perfect examples of symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic and choral music. His music is characterised by supreme mastery of form and formal balance, along with an extraordinary capacity for melody. His most famous opera – Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) – remains incredibly popular today. Written in four acts, the opera has a multitude of particularly strong melodies, as well as making revolutionary leaps forward in the use of recitative, as well as bring expositional material and action into arias and ensemble numbers. Upon his death, Mozart was buried in what was known as a common grave, meaning a grave for someone who is not part of the aristocracy that was excavated after ten years, rather than, as many believe, a mass grave.