MOZART'S FAMILY

MOZART'S FAMILY

Here you can find out about the life of Mozart’s parents, as well as his sister Nannerl, with whom he was very close.

Seperator
Mozart's family
Portrait of Mozart family.
Johann Nepomuk della Croce,
1780/81, ©SMF
The Mozart Family

The Mozart family maintained friendly relations with many of the middle-class families living in Salzburg. They would meet with friends and colleagues to play cards and to make music in the house in the Getreidegasse, later in the house on the Hannibalplatz. In the music room the members of the Mozart family met court musicians, including concert-master Johann Michael Haydn, court organist Anton Cajetan Adlgasser, court trumpeter Johann Andreas Schachtner as well as their pupils. People who were interested could come to admire the pianos that Leopold Mozart had acquired from outside piano-makers for sale on commission.

Mozart's father
Leopold Mozart.
Detail from family portrait,
Johann Nepomuk della Croce,
1780/81, ©SMF
Leopold Mozart: Mozart’s father

Leopold Mozart attended the faculty of philosophy of Salzburg University from 1737 to 1739. A few years later an appointment as fourth violinist at the court of the prince-archbishop ensured the young musician a modest income. On 21 November 1747, Leopold married Anna Maria Walburga, daughter of the archiepiscopal court supervisor Wolfgang Nikolaus Pertl from St. Gilgen, in Salzburg Cathedral. Leopold published his pedagogical experience as a violin teacher at the Kapellhaus entitled “Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing” in 1756, the year that his son Wolfgang was born; the book was published by Johann Jakob Lotter in Augsburg. In 1759 Leopold began to compile a book of music “Pour le Clavecin” for Nannerl which was intended as instruction for beginners and contained Wolfgang’s first compositions. The two children Nannerl and Wolfgang had the best teacher - their father, whose prime concern was to encourage his son’s talent.

Years later a friend of the Mozart family (the court trumpeter Johann Andreas Schachtner) recalled in a letter to Maria Anna Berchtold zu Sonnenburg how “the little Wolfgang had asked if he may be allowed to play second violin. Papa found the request a bit foolish since Wolfgang did not have the slightest idea how to play the violin. I asked that he be allowed to play with me and in the end Papa said, ‘go and play with Mr. Schachtner, but as quietly as possible so that no one can hear you, otherwise you will have to leave’. And this is what happened: Wolfgang played the violin with me and soon to my astonishment I noticed that I was quite superfluous. I put my violin to one side and looked at your Papa, who shed tears of admiration and comfort at this scene".

Mozart's mother
Anna Maria Mozart,
Detail from family portrait,
Johann Nepomuk della Croce,
1780/81, ©SMF
Anna Maria Mozart: Mozart’s mother

The life of Anna Maria Mozart was characterised by carrying out her duties, her kindliness and tactful restraint. She inconspicuously steered the fate and fortunes of her family. “Your dear, blessed mother”, wrote Leopold Mozart on 20 July 1778 after the death of his wife, to his son in Paris, “was well-known from her childhood and loved everywhere, because she was kind to everybody and never insulted anyone”.

Mozart's sister Nannerl
Maria Anna (Nannerl) Mozart.
Detail from family portrait,
Johann Nepomuk della Croce,
1780/81, ©SMF
Maria Anna Mozart: Mozart’s sister

When Maria Anna "Nannerl " Mozart married on 23 August 1784, the house on the Hannibalplatz became very quiet. She and her husband, Johann Baptist Berchtold zu Sonnenburg moved to St. Gilgen into the house where her mother had been born. Maria Anna had a son, Leopold, who was born on 27 July 1785 in the Dancing Master’s House. During the last two years of his life Leopold Mozart looked after the little boy. Mozart had a close relationship with his sister, his “carissima sorella”. Nannerl, herself a highly talented pianist, constantly encouraged her brother and gave up the idea of having her own artistic career. After the death of their mother, she devotedly took care of the family.

© Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation (SMF) – All image rights reserved.