While Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is associated with Salzburg, Austria, one of the defining traits of the composer is cosmopolitanism. This partly reflects the two years he spent in Italy, from age 13 to 15, playing in a variety of venues, including the Republic of Venice and the Kingdom of Naples.
To embark upon this lengthy trip, Mozart’s father Leopold quit the Salzburg court orchestra and invested his time and effort in chaperoning his son. The budding composer took to the adventure wholeheartedly, learning Italian while taking in ancient Roman, Renaissance, and contemporary sights.
Young Mozart also explored music and found Baroque opera and the castrato singing of the time uninspiring. He set to work on three Milanese operas and also composed numerous symphonies, arias, and sacred pieces while in Italy.
Perhaps his most lasting works were the String Quartet No. 3 in G major, K.156/134b and the vocally demanding motet Exsultate, Jubilate. He also studied with top tier enlightenment figures, and in the process, transformed from a child prodigy to a “conscious artist.”