Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Retracing the steps of the ‘Wunderkind’ in Salzburg
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is still present in many places within the city of Salzburg. Evidence of the life and works of the ‘Wunderkind’ is omnipresent in the town of his birth. It’s difficult not to find traces of Mozart’s life in the old part of Salzburg, whether on a visit to the place of his birth, to his second home or on the town square that now bears his name.
Mozart 2016 – many reasons to celebrate
We encounter Mozart at many anniversaries during 2016. For example, Mozart celebrates his 260th birthday on January 27th. The “Cathedral Music Association” was established 175 years ago and remains a very significant Salzburg institution, though now known as the Mozarteum Foundation. In addition, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg marks its own 175th anniversary, actually making it one year older even than the Vienna Philharmonic.
20 years ago, the Mozart Residence was reopened. Back in 1944, a bomb dropped during an air raid destroyed two thirds of the house in which the Mozart family had lived for 17 years. When it was rebuilt, every possible effort was made to restore the appearance of the building to how it had looked in Mozart’s day.
Yet another anniversary is celebrated by the Mozart Audio and Film Collection, which has now been in existence for 25 years. The world’s biggest archive focused exclusively on the life and work of Mozart comprises 26,000 audio titles and 3,300 video productions. To mark the occasion, two special museum weeks will take place:
- “Stringed Instruments” from 22 to 26 February 2016, and
- “Keyboard Instruments” from 21 to 25 November 2016
- further information...
Because Mozart’s music lives on and continues to captivate listeners, Salzburg hosts a wealth of musical highlights. A new concert series known as “Mozart in Residenz” has added an extra layer of Mozart enjoyment in the city since 2015. A twelve-musician chamber orchestra combined with excerpts from Mozart’s letters guarantee an extraordinary experience.
It is easy to retrace the steps of Mozart around the city of Salzburg. The narrow lanes in the historical part of the town have not lost any of their quaint charm down the years. Not far from ‘Staatsbrücke’ bridge the busy and popular Getreidegasse opens out into a protected square, at the top of which stands house no. 9 – where Mozart was born on the 27th January 1756; known as the ‘Geburtshaus’. Today Mozart’s ‘Geburtshaus’ in the Getreidegasse is one of the most commonly visited tourist sights in Austria. In what was once the home of the Mozart family there is now a museum open all year round.
Mozart’s home - inspiring creativity
In 1773, when the Mozarts, a family of four, found this first apartment in Salzburg had become too small, they moved to another house on the other side of the River Salzach, to what is now no. 8 in today’s Markartplatz. It was in this house that Mozart wrote all the compositions in his remaining years in Salzburg, before he ultimately relocated to Vienna. Mozart composed a total of 150 works in Salzburg. His sister Nannerl lived in their second home until she married in 1784 and his father Leopold Mozart resided there until his death in 1787. On the first floor there is a museum; the exhibits tell the story of the building and document the life of the Mozart family.
Memories of Mozart in Salzburg
Salzburg cultivates the memory of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – lovingly and knowledgably. Visitors from all over the world come to retrace the composer’s steps all over the city. Mozartsteg Bridge leads to a square now known as Mozartplatz. It has borne this name since the inauguration of the Mozart monument in 1842. On the building across the square at what is now no. 8 Mozartplatz, there is a plaque explaining that the building housed the final apartment of Mozart’s widow who lived there with her sister Sophie Haibl until her death in 1842. There is also a commemorative plaque for Constanze Mozart-Nissen on the wall of Café Tomaselli on the corner of Alter Markt square and Churfürststraße, who lived there with her second husband, Georg Nikolaus von Nissen, and their children from 1820 to 1826. Yet another plaque is to be found at no. 18 Universitätsplatz, where Mozart’s sister Nannerl lived after returning to the city from St. Gilgen.
St. Peter’s Cemetery is considered to be one of the most beautiful graveyards in the world. Right next to Michael Haydn’s crypt is the grave of Mozart’s sister, Nannerl. Wolfgang’s father Leopold, his widow Constanze and her second husband Georg Nikolaus von Nissen, were all laid to rest in St. Sebastian’s cemetery.
International Foundation and Mozarteum University
A key raison d'etre for the International Mozarteum Foundation is the cultivation and promotion of Mozart’s legacy. The ‘Cathedral Music Association and Mozarteum’ was established to this end back in 1841. In 1870 it became the International Mozart Foundation and subsequently in 1880 the International Mozarteum Foundation. The building that houses the Mozarteum today was ceremonially inaugurated in 1914. The Mozarteum is now also home to the Mozart library and archives featuring several treasures from his collected works and artefacts (autograph collection in Mozart’s second home). The Mozarteum University attracts students from all over the world. The Salzburg Mozarteum orchestra undertakes numerous international concert tours and is a significant feature of the city’s musical life.
Mozart’s music is omnipresent in Salzburg
The Salzburg Festival stages magnificent performances of Mozart’s operas. His works are also played at the Salzburg palace concerts, at concerts held up in the fortress Festung Hohensalzburg, at large orchestral performances and sweet serenades. His ecclesiastical compositions are an integral part of the religious life of the town. His operas feature strongly in the repertoire of Salzburg’s puppet theatre, thrilling visitors from all over the world. Salzburg’s Mozart Week is held every year in January in the period around the composer’s birthday. This is always the first highlight of the musical year in the city.