Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart was brought to London as a child of eight in the spring of 1764, together with his sister Nannerl, to impress English audiences with the same feats of precocious musical genius that had already created a stir on the Continent.
His father, Leopold, court musician to the Archbishop of Salzburg, installed the family in lodgings, first in Cecil Court off Tottenham Court Road and then in Frith Street in Soho, and set about advertising the arrival of the prodigies.
In a newspaper of March 1765, Leopold assured prospective visitors to the Mozarts that they 'may not only hear this young Music Master and his Sister perform in private; but likewise try his surprising Musical Capacity, by giving him anything to play at sight, or any Music without Bass, which he will write upon the spot, without recurring to his Harpsichord.'
London music lovers were suitably impressed and a report by the philosopher Daines Barrington on Wolfgang's remarkable abilities was presented to the Royal Society. The young Wolfgang also appeared three times at court where he easily mastered the keyboard exercises King George III had devised for him.
The Mozarts moved to Ebury Street, where the blue plaque can be seen, for several weeks in the summer of 1764 after Leopold had fallen ill. Barred from playing any musical instruments during his father's recuperation, Wolfgang amused himself with composition. His first symphony was one of the results and it was performed at one of the concerts the Mozarts undertook after Leopold recovered.
The Mozarts left London in July 1765, after fifteen months in the capital, and Wolfgang never returned. In 1790, the year before his death, he was offered the opportunity to conduct a series of concerts in the city but he declined.
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