Who was the female Mozart?

· May 18, 2022, 12:08 am

Mozart’s star shines so brightly in history that it overshadows nearly everyone around him, including his extraordinarily talented sister, Maria Anna “Nannerl” Mozart.

By all accounts, Nannerl was Wolfgang’s equal as a keyboard player. She also composed. She often served as her brother’s first pair of eyes for his keyboard compositions. And she put his career ambitions ahead of her own.

Had she lived in a different time, she might have been able to have had a career as a concert pianist. Clara Schumann did just a few decades later. But in Nannerl’s time, societal women weren’t allowed to be paid for concerts. They weren't encouraged to publish anything they composed, and so all of her compositions have been lost.

But Nannerl worked behind the scenes to help advance her brother’s career. She gave music lessons as part of her father’s business to earn “respectable” money. And when the family decided that 21-year-old Wolfgang needed to hit the road to find a good job, she donated her dowry to help fund the trip.

Learn more about Mozart’s musical sister in this week’s episode of Mozart Snapshots with Colorado pianist Katie Mahan.

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