Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was more than one of the greatest musical composers of all times; he was also, in the words of the producers of a rock opera dedicated to Mozart, the first rock star on Earth. While kids might not understand the nuances of Mozart's musical compositions, they can still discover plenty of interesting facts about this historical figure and his work.
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Mozart is commonly known by the names Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but in fact at birth, the composer was given a name quite a bit longer than the first names people are given in the 21st century: he was called Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. The Wolfgangus part of Mozart's name was later shortened to just Wolfgang by Mozart's father, while the Amadeus comes from the Latin translation of another part of the name: Theophilus.
Mozart's abilities and experiences as a child are legendary; the DSO Kids website calls the composer the most talented child star in history. Having shown off his incredible gifts by composing a sonata for the piano at age four, Mozart was then taken on a tour of the courts of 18th-century Europe by his father. Here he played to stunned courtrooms full of lords and ladies, and impressed everyone with his skills on piano --- all while only six years old. During these travels, Mozart picked up plenty of foreign words, and could eventually speak as many as 15 languages.
Some kids may learn one or two instruments, but Mozart's musical prowess wasn't limited to just the piano. While he learnt this instrument first, the young composer soon picked up the violin, as well as the organ, while on tour in Europe. He was also skilled with the harpsichord, and by the time he was nine years old, he'd written a tune for people to play on this instrument.
Mozart was a prolific composer, and was able to create music even while doing something else too; for example, he composed music while his wife gave birth. Mozart is remembered not only for the range of instruments he composed for, but also for the variety of types of music he worked with. Mozart composed everything from symphonies to operas and chamber music. In total, Mozart composed more than 600 works, including variations on the nursery rhyme "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
After a successful childhood, Mozart was used to being the centre of attention, as he was on his European tour, but this wasn't the case in his adult life. Mozart continued to create music, but was viewed simply as a servant: the rank of a musician in the 18th century. In his last days, Mozart spent far too much money, and ended up in poverty. He didn't live to be an old man; instead, he became ill and died at the age of just 35.
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