Salzburg, Austria Hot rock and cool jazz mixed with the classics Friday in Salzburg, as Mozart fans spilled from museums and concert halls into a floodlit main square in an exuberant 250th birthday bash echoed by thousands of other commemorations worldwide.
As the city of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's birth, Salzburg claimed first rights in the international celebrations, showcasing him in a dozen events that displayed not only his musical mastery but his life, loves and pastimes.
Salzburg church bells pealed at 8 p.m., the hour of his birth. Posters sprinkling the city proclaimed "Happy Birthday Mozart," while the daily "Salzburger Nachrichten" displayed a full-page portrait of a serious-looking "Wunderkind" sitting at the harpsichord, with the headline: "Salzburg celebrates its great son."
But it was mostly Mozart just about everywhere else as well as the world celebrated his musical gift to the world with uncounted concerts, opera performances, marathon classical broadcasts and other events.
The Google Internet search machine rose to the occasion with programmers bedecking an "o" with a Mozartian wig and replacing a "g" with the treble clef.
Giants of classical music sang praises to the creator of more than 600 works, including some of the most beautiful music ever written; the lover of scatological jokes; the impertinent youth who talked back to Austrian Emperor Joseph II after he criticized his "Abduction from the Seraglio."
In Sweden, state radio set up an Internet radio station broadcasting Mozart music for 24 hours playing "Wolfie's hits & misses." Public television also honored Mozart with a 12-hour special.
Orchestra halls and opera houses performed his works in Moscow, Washington, Prague, London, Paris, Tokyo, Caracas, Quito, Havana, Mexico City, Taipei, Budapest, Beijing and scores of other cities worldwide.
America's oldest orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, got a jump on the birthday by playing an all-Mozart program Thursday night. The program, being repeated Friday and today, included the orchestra's first ever performance of the uplifting "Coronation Mass," which Mozart wrote in 1779. The New Jersey Symphony was nearing the conclusion of a three-week Mozart festival that included a community play-in of "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" this afternoon in Newark.
Many classical radio outlets worldwide were reprogramming for the day to play only Mozart. Hundreds of marionettes took to the stage in excerpts of his operas in the German city of Augsburg, where his father was born.
Croatia's central post office stamped letters with special Mozart images. In Helsinki, Finnish music buffs were treated to 1,650 Mozart pastries before a special concert.
The square in front of the Austrian Embassy in the Slovene capital, Ljubjana, was declared "Mozart Square" for the day. In Brussels, "Manneken Pis" the storied statue of the tinkling boy, was bedecked in a Mozart costume.
In Austria, the celebrations added special spice to the rivalry between Salzburg - where Mozart was born on Jan. 27, 1756 - and Vienna, where he died 35 years later.
Vienna was staging a new production of his "Idomeneo" in one of the city's three opera houses and reviving "The Magic Flute" in another. The gothic St. Stephen's Cathedral was the venue for a performance of his "Coronation Mass," and chamber music ensembles spread across town to perform some of his better known works.
Vienna Mayor Michael Hauepl took note of both cities' ties to the Austrian master as he reopened the baroque downtown house where Mozart wrote "The Marriage of Figaro," declaring: "Mozart was incontestably a Salzburger, but today he also becomes a Viennese."