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Over the course of his very short life, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) established himself as one of the greatest of all composers of classical music. In barely 30 years (beginning at the age of five), Mozart composed more than 600 pieces of music in virtually every form, including operatic, choral and chamber music; and works for symphony, violin and piano. Growing up in Salzburg, Austria, Mozart became fluent on violin and various keyboards before moving to Vienna, where he became one of the most famous composers in Europe. He became a close friend of the composer Joseph Haydn; while the other preeminent composer of the period, Ludwig van Beethoven, who was "deeply influenced by Mozart,"

... wrote his own early compositions in the shadow of Mozart...

Mozart suffered from financial problems and poor health through much of his life, and the cause of his early death at the age of 35 is still unknown; doctors have suggested everything from kidney disease and rheumatic fever to poisoning: A popular legend is that he was poisoned by his jealous musical competitor, Antonio Salieri.

Among Mozart's most famous works were his operas The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni; and his Requiem Mass in D Minor--which he claimed to have written for himself, and on which he was working when he died.

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