Franz Peter Schubert was born in Lichtenthal, Austria on January 31, 1797. He was a child prodigy and was admitted to the Viennese Court Chapel Choir as a boy soprano at age 11 in 1808. From 1812 to 1816, he studied composition with the Italian composer, Antonio Sallert. He left the choir in 1814 and trained as a teacher. He also wrote his first great song in that year – Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel. During the next two years, he composed more than 200 songs.
He left his teaching post in 1818 to live permanently in Vienna. Soon his songs became famous in the saloons, but the general public was not aware of his music for most of his life. Some of the songs had been printed by 1821, but Schubert received very little payment for them All through his life, he was very poor.
He wrote several unsuccessful pieces in 1822 and 1823. He also started the Unfinished Symphony in 1823, but put it aside when he became ill. After he recovered from his illness, he never did get back to the symphony, but he did write some of his finest chamber music, such as Octet in F Major. He tried several times to secure a position as a conductor, but was not successful. Some of his most outstanding works, Mass No. 6 in E flat major, Impromptus and Moments Musicaux, were written in the two years before his death from typhoid fever in Vienna on November 19, 1828.
The songs of Schubert contain some of the finest 19th century German lyric poetry. They are known for their hauntingly beautiful melodies. The piano accompaniments composed by Schubert were original in the way in which they provided the background of the song or in the manner in which they evoked the essence of a particular poem. Many of his important works, such as C-major Symphony, were not performed until after his death