Maria-Anna Mozart, Peter Anton Lorenzoni

From The Smithsonian:

“Virtuosic.” “A prodigy.” “Genius.” These words were written in the 1760s about Mozart—Maria Anna Mozart. When she toured Europe as a pianist, young Maria Anna wowed audiences in Munich, Vienna, Paris, London, the Hague, Germany and Switzerland. “My little girl plays the most difficult works which we have … with incredible precision and so excellently,” her father, Leopold, wrote in a letter in 1764. “What it all amounts to is this, that my little girl, although she is only 12 years old, is one of the most skillful players in Europe.”

The young virtuoso, nicknamed Nannerl, was quickly overshadowed by her brother, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, five years her junior. But as one of Wolfgang’s earliest musical role models, does history owe her some measure of credit for his genius?

Maria and Wolfgang toured for more than three years, covering several thousand miles by horse-drawn carriage, stopping in 88 cities and performing for many thousands of people. “This might be conjecture, but I have to think that Nannerl had an enormous influence on Wolfgang during the tours, especially the early tours,” says Zahler. “Touring intensifies the performing relationship. At a certain point, the music becomes second nature and musicians begin to concentrate almost entirely on deepening the interpretation. Being older, Nannerl would have had deep insights to share.”

“Maria Anna Mozart: The Family’s First Prodigy”, The Smithsonian