Leopold Mozart was born in Augsburg
, on November 14
. His father was Johann Gerg Mozart
), a bookbinder
. I have not yet discovered who his mother was.
When he was eight, he attended the Augsburg Gymnasium, and then later the Lyceum adjoining the Jesuit school of St. Salvator (1735 to 1736). Aftetr his father died in 1736, he was directed into a clerical career by his teachers and patrons, and in 1737 moved to Salzburg where he enrolled at the Benedictine University. There he studied philosophy and jurisprudence, taking a bachelor of philosophy degree in the next year with public commendation. Later (1739) he was expelled for poor attendence.
He went to work as a valet and musician to the Salzburg canon and president of the consistory of Johann Baptist, the Count of Thurn-Valassina and Taxis. Under the Johanns employ, he wrote six trio sonatas 'per chiesa e da camera' (1740), which Leopold himself engraved in copper. Shortly thereafter he started to compose Deutsch Passion cantatas and Latin school-dramas, which gained him a post as fourth violinist in the court orchestra of the prince-archbishop. He was later made violin teacher to the choirboys of the cathedral oratory, and then, in 1777, he also became a keyboard instructor. In 1757 he was appointed composer to the court and chamber; the next year he advanced to the post of second violinist in the court orchestra, in 1763 to deputy Kapellmeister.
In November 21st of 1747 Leopold had married Anna Maria Pertl. Of their seven children, only two survived to reach adulthood -- Maria Anna (born in 1751) and Wolfgang Amadeus (born in 1756). In the same year as Wolfgang's birth Leopold published his Versuch einer gründlichen Violinschule, an impressive work on Deutsch music theory, which made its 37-year-old author famous in European musical circles.
Leopolds music was interesting. In addition to bagpipes and a hurdy-gurdy, the 'Bauernhochzeit' ('Peasant Wedding') Divertimento calls for a dulcimer and ad libitum whoops, whistles, and pistol shots; the Sinfonia 'da caccia' includes, besides a bugle and a hunting-horn, boxes of ammunition and, if possible, dog yelps and various Human cries of the chase. Leopold seems to have composed no pieces for his own instrument, the violin.
By 1760 Leopold was at the height of his creativity. Shortly thereafter, however, he gave up both violin instruction and composition in order to direct what time was not claimed in service to the prince to the education of his two children. After 1762 he rarely composed, and after 1771 he gave it up completely, his last work being his Symphony #25 in D.
Works by Mozart appeared in Breitkopf's catalogues for the last time in 1775.
Instead of composing, Leopold devoted this part of his life to his son Wolfgang, who he considered to be nothing short of a miracle. He spent all the time and money he could on training and educational journeys, either with the entire family, or with Wolfgang alone. He collaborated with Wolfgang for some of his early works (up to about 1765), but for the most part worked as a proofreader and sometimes copyist. On many of the later manuscripts the notices of authorship and date are Leopold's, who apparently was very careful of the preservation of his son's manuscripts. It was also Leopold who in 1768 drew up a manuscript catalogue of the most important works to that date.
Leopolds later life was less than happy, as his son and Prince-Archbishop Colleredo became more and more displeased with each other, and the world failed to give Wolfgang the attention and respect that Leopold felt he was due. Worst of all, Wolfgang later became alienated from his father (in part because of Constanze Weber, whom Wolfgang eventually married).
Leopold died in Salzburg on May 28th, 1787. He was buried in the cemetery of St. Sebastian.