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Friday, January 27, 2006

Austria Celebrates Mozart at 250

Celebrations marking the 250th birthday of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are being held around the world on Friday.

Many of the events will be centerd on his birthplace in Salzburg, and Vienna, where he made his home and died at the age of 35.

New productions of Idomeneo and The Magic Flute will be performed at opera houses in Vienna.

A giant birthday cake measuring more than two meters (6.5 feet) high will be unveiled during a street party in Salzburg.

Both Austrian cities will be offering visitors tours highlighting places the composer visited, including his favorite restaurants and the homes of his friends and enemies.

And in Vienna a new museum has opened in the building where Mozart lived from 1784 to 1787 and where he composed The Impresario and The Marriage of Figaro.

Salzburg will also see the Vienna Philharmonic perform Mozart's Piano Concert No 18, before renowned conductor Riccardo Muti leads a musical tribute.

Dedicated concerts will also be staged in Moscow, Prague, London, Tokyo, Havana and New York among many other cities.

In the US many classical radio stations are sweeping away their usual playlists in favour of playing back-to-back Mozart.

Even in country music-obsessed Nashville there will be a concert of his Piano Concerto No 21.

Mozart, who has long been hailed a genius, was a child prodigy having composed his first symphony before the age of 10 and his first successful opera by the age of 12.

Before his early death he had created hundreds of solo and orchestral pieces, inspiring the likes of Beethoven and Wagner.

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