Mozart once said that it was his love for music that enabled him to write the compositions that would continue to be adored for another two centuries.
“Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius,” he said. “Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.”
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart will have his 250th birthday next week and Taipei will be joining his hometown in celebrating his life and music, exposing locals to both his “love” and “genius.”
“All of Austria will be celebrating this year,” said Brigitte Beidinger, wife of Hubert Beidinger, director of the Austrian Tourism Office. “There will be huge celebrations in Vienna and of course in Salzburg where he was born.”
Mrs. Beidinger is helping to organize Taipei’s own celebration which will be held at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum. Instead of a simple concert, however, the event has blown into a full party to last all day and well into the night with the sound of Mozart wafting through the air for 15 straight hours.
Starting at 11 a.m. on Thursday, January 26, and running to 2 a.m., “Mozart in Taipei — Long Night of Music” will feature a number of musical performances covering a range of Mozart’s work. The local and foreign performers include the student choir of the Taipei European School, the Tien Mu High School orchestras, the Salzburger Musical Quartet, La Muse Musica and the Jazz Quatte, which will give its own jazz take on the original classics. In addition, a film festival will open at noon and a birthday party thrown at midnight.
Beidinger says she was inspired by a Taiwanese friend and the locals love for art and culture to get involved in organizing the festival.
“We thought that since Taiwanese people are so fond of culture and music, we have to do something,” she explained. “Taiwanese people really love classical music and so many students even go abroad to Germany and Austria to study.”
Mozart was born on January 27, 1756, in Salzburg to Leopold and Anna Maria Pertl Mozart. His father Leopold was one of Europe’s most influential musical pedagogues who intensively taught Mozart from the age of three including instruction in both clavier and violin. By the age of five, he performed in the imperial court for Empress Maria Theresa and by the age of seven had completed four sonatas.
As a result of his early success, many considered to be a prodigy for whom music was simply a natural acquisition, but Mozart denied that any of it was that easy. “People make a mistake who think my art has come easily to me,” he said. “Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not studied over and over.”
The composer was also known for a lighter, perhaps infantile, side which has often been described as unconventional. Beidinger says that often simply goes hand-in-hand with genius.
“He had a brilliant mind, spoke several languages and was well educated. He was a real prodigy,” she says. “People who are genius are always eccentric and maybe not often understood by other people because of their genius mind. They think differently.”
Mozart’s character, in fact, was much the impetus for holding the celebration at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum.
“I’m confident that he would have loved this idea of celebrating it not so traditionally,” she said. “Rather than just a concert, he would have preferred a relaxed get together with as many people as possible.”
A spokesperson from Nestle Taiwan, which sponsored the event, said that the company has been working to promote culture and the arts in Taiwan.
Mozart in Taipei – Long Night of Music was organized by the Austrian Tourism Office and Taipei Culture Affairs Department with assistance from the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Sheraton Taipei Hotel and Nestle Taiwan Ltd. Sponsors include Shinkong Commercial Bank, China Airlines, Dayeh Takashimaya Department Store, Weingut Kaiser and Sektkellerei Szigeti.