European Mozartways

Journeys to Western Europe and Italy 1763 - 1770


In the summer of 1763, Leopold Mozart left with his family on a major journey through western Europe, one which lead them to Germany - where Wolfgang performed for the first time in Augsburg, his father's home town, France, England and Holland.

During their stay in Paris, Wolfgang's first compositions appeared in print: the Sonatas for Piano and Violin K. 6 and 7 for Madame Victoire de France (as op.I) as well as K. 8 and 9 for Comtesse Adrienne-Catherine de Tessé, née de Noailles (as op. II). The boy's performances were greeted with astonishment and admiration by one and all.

1763 - 1766

On April 23rd, 1764, the Mozart Family arrived in London.  In addition to four public concerts, the children gave repeated performances for King George III and his wife, Sophie Charlotte, née Princess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, to whom Wolfgang dedicated his six Sonatas for Piano and Violin (Flute) K. 10-15.

Having barely returned to his native land, rumours began to spread about yet another impending journey for the Mozart Family. In fact, after spending just eleven months in Salzburg, they left for Vienna, from where they subsequently had to flee to Brünn and Olmütz in an attempt to escape the smallpox epidemic which was ravaging the city. Despite their efforts, the children still became seriously ill.

At the end of January 1768, at the suggestion of Emperor Joseph II, Mozart began work on the Opera buffa "La Finta semplice" K. 51 (46a), which, due to an intrigue at the theatre directed towards the young Salzburg composer, presumably did not receive its first performance until May of 1769 in Mozart's home town.


First premieres in 1767, 2nd Vienna stay until 1769.

1769 - 1770

In 1769, during his stay in Salzburg, Mozart became the unsalaried concertmaster of the Salzburg court ensemble.
On December 13th, father and son commenced the difficult journey over the Brenner Pass to Italy. Their path took them via Verona, Milan, Florence and Rome to Naples, with Wolfgang receiving triumphant receptions at every stage of his journey:
It was in Rovereto that Mozart gave his first Italian concert. In Milan, he was commissioned to create an opera for the Stagione Carnevale in 1770/1771, the fruit of which was the Opera seria "Mitridate, Re di Ponto" K. 87 (74a), making its highly acclaimed stage debut in Milan's Regio Ducal Teatro on December 26th, 1770, under the direction of the boy himself - still only 14 years old.
In Bologna, he had an opportunity to meet the famous Italian musicologist, Padre Giovanni Battista Martini, who awarded him with a certificate for his musical abilities.

In Rome, Cardinal-Secretary Count Pallavicini decorated Mozart with the insignias of the "Order of the Golden Spur" which he had had been awarded by Pope Clemens XIV - the highest papal order which, prior to Mozart, had only been given to Orlando di Lasso. On October 10th, 1770, during his return home, Mozart is admitted to the Accademia Filarmonica in Bologna after successfully passing their examination.