Leopold Mozart


Born: November 14, 1719 Died: May 28, 1787
Johan Georg Leopold Mozart was born in Augsburg, Austria, on November 14, 1719, son of a bookbinder. On his father's death in 1736, he was sent to Salzburg to study for the priesthood. When he ended these studies, he found a job as a valet and musician in a noble family. He worked himself up through the ranks and in 1757 became court composer to the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. In 1747 he married Anna Maria Pertl. They had seven children, but only two survived. Maria Anna Wallburga Ignatia ("Nannerl") and the great Wolfgang Amadé Mozart. For the rest of his life he held his Salzburg position, educated these children, and directed the career of his son until Wolfgang's majority.

Leopold was a skilled composer of considerable imagination, good enough that some of his own work was confused with that of his son. Most of this music was written in the earlier part of his career; his composition trailed off as he devoted more of his attention to the development (and exploitation) of Wolfgang's talents. Another important contribution to music was his exceptionally fine treatise on violin playing, published in 1756. It details many things about musical expression and ornamentation that have proven invaluable to scholars investigating authentic performance practice.
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