Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
"Give me the best instrument in Europe, but listeners who understand nothing or do not wish to understand and who do not feel with me in what I am playing, and all my pleasure is spoilt. "
Mozart was the most comprehensively gifted musician who has ever lived. He was a child prodigy who began to play the harpsichord at the age of three and to compose at the age of five.
He also played both the violin and the viola to soloist standard. While there have been other prodigies, none has apporached Mozart's ability to combine a dazzling musical imagination with a total mastery of style and form and matchless beauty of expression.
Mozart belonged to the Classical Period of the latter half of the 18th century. Other composers established the musical forms of that period--the sonata, symphony, concerto, and string quartet--but Mozart enriched these forms to a degree that amazed even Joseph Haydn, who became one of his most devoted friends.
Mozart also showed great spirit by standing up for what he considered his rights at a time when most composers still worked for aristocratic masters. After being dismissed by his employer, the Archbishop of Salzburg (who refused to allow Mozart to go on tour), he charted his future as an independent artist.
Mozart's greatest works display the personal expression that echo the revolutionary times he lived in, paving the way for Romanticism.
contributed by Gifford, Katya