Antonio Salieri (August 18, 1750 - May 7, 1825), born in Legnano, Italy, near the Austrian dukedom of Mantua, was a composer and conductor who received considerable public acclaim in his day. He studied violin and harpsichord with his brother Francesco, who was a student of Giuseppe Tartini. After the death of his parents, he moved to Padua, then to Venice, where he studied thoroughbass with Giovanni Pescetti. In 1766 Salieri met Florian Leopold Gassmann, who invited him to attend the court of Vienna and there trained him in composition based on Fux's Gradus ad Parnassus. He remained in Vienna for the remainder of his life, and in 1774, when Gassmann died, Salieri was appointed the court composer by Emperor Joseph II, and Imperial Royal Kapellmeister in 1788.
During his time in Vienna he acquired great prestige as a composer and conductor, particularly of opera, and also of chamber and sacred music. The most successful of his 43 operas were Les Danaïdes (1784), which was first presented as work of Gluck's, and Tarare (1787). He wrote comparatively little instrumental music, including just two piano concerti written in 1773.
He attained an elevated social standing, and frequently associated with other celebrated composers such as Joseph Haydn. As children, Beethoven, Schubert and Liszt all benefitted from his tutelage. He also taught Czerny, Hummel and a son of Mozart's.
Antonio Salieri is buried in the Zentralfriedhof in Vienna, Austria.
Allegations by Mozart
In Vienna in the 1790s, Mozart accused Salieri of plagiarism and of attempting to murder him with poison. As Mozart's music became more popular over the decades and Salieri's music was forgotten, Mozart's unsubstantiated allegations gained credence and tarnished Salieri's reputation.
The biographer Alexander Wheelock Thayer believes that Mozart's suspicions of Salieri could have originated with an incident in 1781 when Mozart applied to be the music teacher of the Princess of Württemberg, and...
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