By Emily Brickler
We’re coming up on the 262nd birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. I know this because he and I were born on the same day in January, although several hundred years apart! Mozart was considered one of the greatest composers and musicians of all time. It seems that he had a natural ability toward music, even from an early age. When Mozart was just four years old, his father started teaching him how to play the clavier, a piano-like instrument. At five years old, he was performing for European royalty and composing his own musical pieces.
Mozart led a very colorful life. He wrote 68 complete symphonies and hundreds of concertos for piano, violin, and other instruments. He died at the age of 35, which makes one think about what he could have accomplished had he lived a longer life.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and I also share the same birthday with Mikhail Baryshnikov, a Russian dancer who was one of the most charismatic and famous dancers of our time. Misha, as his friends call him, defected to Canada in 1974 and moved to the United States soon after. I was still in high school, but I remember his defection and what a commotion it caused in the art world, particularly the world of dance. Everyone knew at the time what a great talent he was, and the air of expectation was electrifying!
Mikhail Baryshnikov danced many years for George Balanchine and the New York City Ballet. Balanchine was known for his extremely demanding and difficult-to-execute choreographies. Baryshnikov later became the artistic director for the American Ballet Theatre.
I don’t dance or play the piano very well, but I am thrilled to be able to say that I share the same birthday as these amazing artists.
Art Matters is a weekly column sponsored by Leach Theatre, a division of Student Affairs, on the campus of Missouri S&T, and produced by Emily Brickler, Managing Director of the theatre and ten-year veteran teacher with a Masters of Art in Teaching from Webster University.