Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756 to Leopold and Anna Mozart in the town of Salzburg in Austria. Leopold, perhaps the greatest influence on Mozart's life, was the vice Kapellmeister (assistant choir director) to the Archbishop of Salzburg at the time of Mozart's birth.
Mozart was one of seven children, although only one other sibling survived. Maria Anna Mozart was affectionately known to her younger brother as "Nannerl." Both children exhibited musical abilities at an early age and, with guidance and instruction from their learned father, performed regularly in front of royalty and religious echelons.
History considers Leopold a strict but adoring father. In a letter to his son, he wrote:
"As a child and a boy you were serious rather than childish and when you sat at the clavier or were otherwise intent on music, no one dared to have the slightest jest with you. Why, even your expression was so solemn that, observing the early efflorescence of your talent and your ever grave and thoughtful little face, many discerning people of different countries sadly doubted whether your life would be a long one."
Unfortunately, Mozart's life was a short one. He died just prior to turning 36 years old on December 5, 1791 after suffering an illness which attacked Mozart viciously and rapidly. The rumors of the day included that Mozart had been poisoned, a basis for the musical Amadeus -- which attributes the death of Mozart to the efforts of Antonio Salieri, a rival musician.