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Intelligent and Gifted: A New Portrait of Mozart’s Mother

Intelligent and Gifted: A New Portrait of Mozart’s Mother

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s mother often comes up poorly in biographies about the composer – research is now revising that.

Here is the confessed father, who travels across Europe with his two musical children, Wolfgang Amadeus and Nannerl, moving from farm to farm. There, the mother stands in the shadows, lacking education, eloquence, and social communication. Generations of Mozart biographers have painted this portrait of Anna Maria Mozart (1720-1778).

“The picture is determined more by the author’s image of the woman and the family than by reality,” says Eva Neumayer, head of the musical collection of the Salzburg Archdiocese Archive and research associate at the International Mozarteum Foundation. In light of this widely circulated image, I began a scholarly reassessment of Mozart’s mother. On the occasion of the 300th birth anniversary of Anna Maria Mozart on 25 December 2020, a symposium focused on original sources. The results of this research have now been summarized in an anthology published by Neumayer and her colleague Anja Morgenstern (“Mother Celebre. Mozart.” Hulitzer-Verlag, 236p., 43€).

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