Antonio Lucio Vivaldi

Antonio Vivaldi

black and white copper engraving (* 4. March 1678 in Venice; † 28. July 1741 in Vienna) was a composer and violinist of the late Baroque period. He was the son of a professional violonist who played at St Mark’s. Antonio was trained for the priesthood, but in 1703, he was appointed maestro di violino at the Ospedale delle Pietà, a venetian orphenage for girls.Vivaldi wrote 39 concerti for bassoon solo and many chamber music works for mixed winds and strings.

Vivaldi was born in Venice in 1678, as the son of a professional violinist. He was an ailing child who suffered from breast problems, probably caused by asthma, according to later reports on his health. He was ordained a priest in 1703, but for health reasons was soon released from the obligation to read Mass. At the same time he had become an accomplished violinist and sometimes represented his father in the orchestra of San Marco. In 1703, the yeapicture showing a church organr of his ordination to the priesthood, he also got his first job as a musician: he became a violin teacher at one of the Venetian orphanages, the Ospedale delle Pietà. This institution, one of four for which Venice was famous, took in orphaned, abandoned or poor girls. They were educated here and especially musically trained if they showed an approach of talent for it. The Pietà-Orchster was known for its virtuosity. Several visitors to Venice reported on his concerts, in which the girls were discreetly shielded from the audience to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Vivaldi worked, with short interruptions, for about 15 years at the Ospedale delle Pietà, during which time he wrote many of his concerts and some sacred works for the girls of the institution. The wide range of instruments for which he composed shows how gifted the girls were. His reputation grew, both in Italy and abroad. He had several of his best concertos published, was visited by visitors from abroad and received commissions to compose for performances outside Venice, for example at the Dresden court.

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