Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is, without a doubt, the most famous classical composer of all time. In many people's minds, Mozart and classical music might as well be synonymous.
Mozart was born to be a musician.
That's not hyperbole -- his father, Leopold Mozart, was an extremely talented musician in his own right and he taught his children everything he knew. His oldest daughter, Nannerl, was quite skilled, but little Wolfgang was so adept that he quickly outshone his father, à la Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus.
He went on tour immediately.
As a child prodigy with parents who knew how to turn him into a star, Mozart was paraded around Europe to perform for royalty and aristocrats. Imagine: a cute little kid with mad skills and a pedigree to match. The public simply couldn't avoid hearing his music.
He was good from a young age. Like, really good.
Mozart famously wrote his first composition at age five (five!!) and, as Classic FM puts it, "it's annoyingly excellent." Have a listen to Minuet and Trio in G Major to see for yourself.
Mozart was extraordinarily prolific, too.
Mozart penned about 600 unique works in a wide range of musical genres, instruments, and styles. Not everything was a masterpiece, but given his immense skill and the sheer volume of his output, Mozart was sure to write a few hits.
We still know and love many of those hits today.
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, Rondo Alla Turca... heck, even the ABCs! His music is elegant, but it's also super catchy. Mozart tapped into the soul of pop music and gave us enough earworms to last more than 260 years.
Then... he left us hanging.
Mozart died when he was only 35, and nobody has really pinpointed the cause. What's more, he died while writing a requiem, leaving the work unfinished. Coincidence? (Yes, but it is intriguingly dramatic.)
Today, on his 267th birthday, we're celebrating the genius that was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. His life, work, and death have transcended fame and achieved mythological status. And still, his music remains accessible and beloved by just about everyone. That is true greatness.