Leopold Mozart

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Johann Georg Leopold Mozart (November 14, 1719 – May 28, 1787) was a composer, conductor, teacher, and violinist. Mozart is best known today as the father and teacher of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and for his violin textbook Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule.



Childhood and student years

He was born in Augsburg, son of Johann Georg Mozart (1679–1736), a bookbinder, and his second wife Anna Maria Sulzer (1696–1766).[1] From an early age he sang as a choirboy. He attended a local Jesuit school, the St. Salvator Gymnasium, where he studied logic, science, theology, graduating magna cum laude in 1735. He then moved on to a more advanced school, the St. Salvator Lyceum.[2]

While a student in Augsburg, he appeared in student theatrical productions as an actor and singer,[3] and became a skilled violinist and organist.[4] He also developed an interest, which he retained, in microscopes and telescopes.[5] Although his parents had planned a career for Leopold as a Catholic priest, this apparently was not Leopold's own wish. An old school friend told Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1777, "Ah he [Leopold] was a great fellow. My father thought the world of him. And how he hoodwinked the clerics about becoming a priest!"[6]

He withdrew from the St. Salvator Lyceum after less than a year. Following a year's delay, he moved to Salzburg to resume his education, enrolling in November 1737 at the Benedictine University to study philosophy and jurisprudence.[2] At the time Salzburg was the capital of an independent state within the Holy Roman Empire (the Prince-Archbishopric of Salzburg), now part of Austria. Except for periods of travel, Leopold spent the rest of his life there.

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