At the time of its composition in 1779, Mozart was on a tour of Europe that included Mannheim and Paris. Mozart had been experimenting with the sinfonia concertante genre and this work can be considered his most successful realization in this cross-over genre between symphony and concerto.
This Sinfonia Concertante has influenced many arrangers to use these themes. In 1808 an uncredited arrangement of the piece for string sextet Grande Sestetto Concertante was published by Sigmund Anton Steiner. All six parts are divided equally among the six players; it is not presented as soloists with accompaniment.
The Sinfonia Concertante was mentioned in William Styron's 1979 novel Sophie's Choice; after a stranger molests Sophie on the subway, she hears the Sinfonia Concertante on the radio, which brings back memories of her childhood in Krakow and snaps her out of her depression.
Variations on the slow second movement were used for the soundtrack to the 1988 Peter Greenaway film Drowning by Numbers by composer Michael Nyman. The original piece is also heard after each of the drownings in the screenplay.
The American composer and bassist Edgar Meyer was so interested in this work that in 1995 he wrote a double concerto for double bass, cello and orchestra that, while very different in style, closely mirrors the structure of Mozart's Sinfonia concertante.
The andante movement of this piece was featured in Nuri Bilge Ceylan's 2002 film Uzak.