‘The Great Composers: Mozart’ Presents A Brilliant Artist In A New Light

Photo: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart crop
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

UPDATE: "The Great Composers: Mozart" has completed its first airing. Thanks for listening! If you missed an episode or want to listen again, check back here or watch our Facebook page for details on where and when you can hear it next. In the meantime, explore the music from the series in our Spotify playlist below...

“The Great Composers: Mozart” -- a five-part documentary series from CPR Classical -- explores the life of one of the most amazing musicians and composers of his day. Conductor Scott O’Neil and CPR Classical host Karla Walker share musical insights and stunning recordings that highlight Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s genius along with his humanity.

The first of five, one-hour episodes premieres Thursday. Scroll down for air times, episode previews, a Mozart playlist and a timeline of his life and work.

Photo: Karla and Scott in Performance Studio
Karla Walker and Scott O'Neil, hosts of "The Great Composers," in the CPR Performance Studio.

Mozart walked the earth for less than 36 years, but his catalog of works rivals that of the most prolific composers.

This is partly because he began composing around age 4, without any formal training. And his passion for composition led him to compose constantly -- even when doing so threatened his health.

His outspoken nature alienated some aristocrats. Others from the privileged class found his music too complicated. In the end, however he rejected them, too. Mozart became the people’s composer.

Episode Previews

Episodes air daily at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

  • Chapter 1: Amadeus, "Loved by God" (Thursday, May 25): A child is born in Salzburg with indescribable, incomprehensible talent for music and composition. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart travels the world and rubs shoulders with the greatest composers in Europe, all by the age of 12.
  • Chapter 2: Champion of His Family (Friday, May 26): The teenage Mozart struggles to fulfill the full measure of his potential. He’s already composed numerous symphonies, concertos, and even operas. His mother gives her life to help him achieve his goals.
  • Chapter 3: Breaking Free (Saturday, May 27): After years of frustration, Mozart breaks out with great successes on the operatic stage and a meteoric rise in the Viennese artistic scene, essentially reinventing the keyboard concerto in the process. He also breaks free from his Salzburg employer and his family -- and he marries Constanze Weber.
  • Chapter 4: Musical Innovator (Sunday, May 28): With his popularity as a piano soloist waning, Mozart adapts and happily turns his focus to his first, true love: opera. He writes “The Marriage of Figaro” and “Don Giovanni.” And he writes his three great, final symphonies in one summer.
  • Chapter 5: The People's Composer (Monday, May 29): War wreaks havoc on the arts in Vienna, and no one seems to suffer more than Mozart. After a lifetime of being torn between what he could write and what his contemporaries were prepared to hear, he finds the perfect balance in “The Magic Flute,” written not for the aristocracy, but for the common man.

Timeline: Key Moments in Mozart's Life

Learn more about pivotal points in this great composer's career:

Featured Music From 'The Great Composers: Mozart'

Check out this Spotify playlist and explore nearly eight hours of music heard in this series.

Check out more classical music insights from Scott O'Neil.