By Lady Wallace
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg on the 17th January, 1756. His father, Leopold Mozart, belonged to a respectable tradesman's family in the free city of Augsburg. Conscious of being gifted with no small portion of intellectual endowments, he followed the impulse that led him to aim at a higher position in life, and went to the then celebrated University of Salzburg in order to study jurisprudence. As he did not, however, at once succeed in procuring employment in this profession, he was forced, from his straitened means, to enter the service of Canon Count Thun as valet. Subsequently, however, his talents, and that thorough knowledge of music by which he had already (according to the custom of many students) gained some part of his livelihood, obtained for him a better position. In the year 1743 he was received into the band (Kapelle) of the Salzburg cathedral by Archbishop Sigismund; and as his capabilities and fame as a violinist increased, the same Prince shortly afterwards promoted him to the situation of Hof-Componist (Court Composer) and leader of the orchestra, and in 1762 he was appointed Hof-Kapellmeister (conductor of the Court music).
In 1747 Leopold Mozart married Anna Maria Pertlin, a foster-child of the Convent of St. Gilgen. The fruits of this marriage were seven children, two of whom alone survived,-Maria Anna, (the fourth), called Nannerl, born in 1751; and the youngest, Wolfgang Amadeus Johannes Chrysostomus. The daughter at a very early age displayed a most remarkable talent for music, and when her father began to give her instructions in it, an inborn and passionate love of this art was soon evident in her little brother of three years old, who at once gave tokens of a degree of genius far surpassing all experience, and really bordering on the marvellous. In his fourth year he could play all sorts of little pieces on the piano. He only required half an hour to learn a minuet, and one hour for a longer movement; and in his fifth year he actually composed some pretty short pieces, several of which are still extant.