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Leopold Mozart

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Georg Leopold Mozart (14th November 1719–28th May 1787) was a composer, music teacher, and violinist. He was born in the city of Augsburg (Germany), and was legally a citizen of the Diocese of Salzburg (now in Austria), but spent much of his time in Vienna, Austria, (all within the Holy Roman Empire). He is best known today for being the father and teacher of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as well as writing the well-known book, Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule, but in his time, Leopold Mozart was well-known for his own musical compositions.

Memorial plaque dedicated to Leopold Mozart and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at Hauenschild’s house in Lower square in Olomouc (Czech Republic). Leopold Mozart was the son of a bookbinder. He studied theology at Salzburg University and did quite well until his expulsion in 1739. He then became more interested in music, becoming a violinist and valet to one of the university’s canons, Count Thurn and Taxis, in 1740. In 1747 he married Anna Maria Pertl, who bore him seven children, although only two of them survived: Maria Anna Wallburga Ignatia (called “Nannerl”) and Joannes Chrysostomous Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart (who later in life changed his name to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart). In 1756, the same year as Wolfgang Amadeus’ birth, Leopold wrote his Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule, a comprehensive treatise on violin playing. Today, this is one of the primary sources on performance practice in the 18th century, along with Johann Joachim Quantz’s Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversière zu spielen (on flute playing) and Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen (on keyboard playing).

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