The 250th birthday of legendary composer WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART is being celebrated around the world today (27JAN06) with a number of organised events.

The main celebrations will be held in the Austrian cities of Salzburg, where Mozart was born, and Vienna, where he made his home and died.

A giant two-metre-high birthday cake will be unveiled at a street party in Salzburg, while opera houses in Vienna will stage new productions of the operas IDOMENEO and THE MAGIC FLUTE.

Both cities will be operating tours for visitors who can explore the artist's favourite places and see where his friends and enemies lived.

Mozart's former home in Vienna, where he composed IMPRESARIO and THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, has been made into a new museum.

Tribute concerts will also be staged in London, Tokyo, Prague and New York among other locations.

Mozart was regarded as a child prodigy after composing his first symphony at the age of 10 and holding his first successful opera at 12. He was the inspiration for other celebrated artists such as Beethoven and Wagner.

His cause of death has never been ascertained - although his death certificate reads "severe military fever".