The Mozart Guys

A final instalment for this year of looking at fathers of composers with the Mozart family!  The male ancestral side of the Mozart family does not revolve around music in terms of profession early on. Let’s start with the great-grandfather of Wolfgang Amadeus, Franz Mozart. Franz was a master mason.  In that time period, children would often follow in their father’s profession. However, Franz’s son, Johann Georg, decided instead to become a master bookbinder. Johann Georg was born in 1679 and died in 1736. His son, Leopold (born in 1719), was the oldest of his five children who survived to adulthood.
Leopold was destined for the priesthood by his parents but that was not to be. His brother, Franz Aloys, did follow in his father’s footsteps and became a bookbinder. Leopold turned to the arts. In school, he performed in plays, sang, and learned to play the violin and organ. After dropping out, moving to Salzburg, and enrolling in a different university, he did earn a Bachelor of Philosophy upon graduating.
In 1740 he started his music career with a position as violinist and valet to Johann Baptist, Count of Thurn-Valsassina and Taxis and by publishing his first series of compositions. In addition to eventually becoming the father of Wolfgang Amadeus, Leopold taught and wrote music. He held the position of deputy Kapellmeister at the Salzburg cathedral for many years. He wrote a treatise on violin playing that is still consulted today.
Obviously he had a big influence on Wolfgang’s life. He was his first teacher and toured with him as a child. While the relationship between Wolfgang and Leopold would become more difficult over the years, Leopold offered much support to his daughter Nannerl later on in his life. In addition to emotional support during difficult times of her marriage, he helped raise her son for several years when he was small. He definitely seems like a father who put much of his on life on hold in an attempt to secure a better future for his children.

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