Mozart Family Tour
The Mozart family grand tour was a 1763–1766 journey around the capitals and other major cities of western Europe, undertaken by Leopold Mozart, his wife Anna Maria, and their musically gifted children Maria Anna (Nannerl) and Wolfgang Amadeus.
Leopold was a court musician to the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, and by 1763 held the post of deputy Kapellmeister. He obtained a protracted leave of absence so that the precocious talents of his children, then aged eleven and seven respectively, could be demonstrated to the wider world.
The children's extraordinary skills had already been revealed during visits to Munich and Vienna in 1762. In Vienna they had played before the Empress Maria Theresa, and a schedule of public performances had earned considerable sums of money. The social and pecuniary opportunities that might accrue from a prolonged trip, taking in the major European courts, complemented what Leopold saw as his duty "as a Catholic and a German" to display the talents of his miraculous children.
The grand tour itinerary took the family, via Munich and Frankfurt, to Brussels. From there they travelled to Paris, and, after a stay of five months, departed for London for what would be their longest sojourn of fifteen months. In London, Wolfgang made the acquaintance of some of the leading musicians of the day, heard much music, and composed his first symphonies. The family moved on to the Netherlands, where the schedule of performances was interrupted by the illnesses of both children, but Wolfgang continued to compose prolifically. The homeward journey incorporated a second stop in Paris and a trip through Switzerland, before the family's return to Salzburg in November 1766.
Today we were at the French Ambassador's. Tomorrow we are invited to Count Harrach's from four to six, but which Count Harrach he is I do not know. I shall see where the carriage takes us to. The nobles send us their invitations four, five, six to eight days in advance, in order not to miss us. ”— Leopold Mozart on the family's visit to Vienna