Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg in Austria, the son of Leopold, Kapellmeister to the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. By the age of three, Wolfgang could play the piano, and he was composing music by the time he was five Mozart's older sister Maria Anna was also a gifted keyboard player, and in 1762 their father took the two prodigies on a short performing tour, of the courts at Vienna and Munich.
Encouraged by the positive reaction of the courts, they left the next year on a longer tour, including two weeks at Versailles, where the children entertained Louis XV. In 1764 they arrived in London. Here Mozart wrote his first three symphonies, under the influence of Johann Christian Bach, the youngest son of Johann Sebastian, who lived in the city. After their return to Salzburg, they would have three more trips to Italy between 1769 and 1773. In Rome Mozart heard a performance of Allegri's Misere; the score of this work was closely guarded, but Mozart managed to transcribe the music almost perfectly from memory.
On Mozart's first visit to Milan, his opera Mitridate, rÃÂ© di Ponto was successfully produced, followed on a later visit by Lucia Silla. The latter showed signs of the rich, full orchestration that is seen in many of his later operas. A trip to Vienna in 1773 failed to produce the court appointment that both Mozart and his father wished for him, but did introduce Mozart to the influence of Haydn, whose Sturm und Drang string quartets had recently been published. The influence is clear in Mozart's six string quartets, K168-173, and in his Symphony in G minor, K183. Another trip in search
of patronage ended less happily. Along with his mother, Mozart left Salzburg in 1777, traveling through Mannheim to Paris. But in...