The great Austrian composer was the classic example of the musically gifted child, learning to play the harpsichord at four, composing music at five and by six already earning recognition as a keyboard virtuoso. By the time he died at a still youthful 35, Mozart had been a musician and composer for more than 30 years.
But Mozart was not the only prodigy among the masters of music.
The UCSB Department of Music invites music enthusiasts to come hear the juvenile compositions of some others and to compete for prizes by trying to match the music with its famous composer. The informal one-hour concert will take place at 8 p.m., Tuesday, April 4 in UCSB's Lotte Lehmann Hall and will be followed by a reception and wine-tasting young wines only, of course hosted by The Wine Cask of Santa Barbara. Admission is $30 and will benefit the department's graduate program. Tickets can be purchased at the UCSB Arts and Lectures Ticket Office, which can be reached at 893-3535.
"I think this will be a fun event for anyone," said Michael Beckerman, an associate professor in the Music Department and the program's emcee. "And I think for those who pride themselves on knowing the classics, it should be a lot of fun."
Four of the pieces to be played are the work of famous composers at the age of 10. Others on the program were written during the composers' teens.
The audience will be surprised at what it hears, Beckerman said.
Some of the pieces will sound wholly out of character for what the composers are known for, but nearly all will be astoundingly mature.
"Even though stylistically, (these pieces) are miles away from what (the composers) later did, there are some really fascinating touches," Beckerman said. "This doesn't come from some mindless child. It is somebody who already has all kinds of ideas and some really interesting ones."
After the concert, the audience will join performers on stage for the reception and announcement of winners, according to concert director Patricia Hall, an associate professor in the Department of Music. First prize will be a trip for two to the Napa Valley wine country. Second prize is lunch for two at the Arts and Letters Cafe. Third prize is bottles of wine.