• Composer of the Week:   Antonio Vivaldi


    Vivaldi Antonio Vivaldi was born in 1678 in Venice, Italy (Venice was its own country at the time).   He is considered one of the greatest Baroque period composers.   His father was a barber, but eventually turned to music and became a professional violinist .  He taught Antonio violin from a young age.  Because of Antonio Vivaldi’s childhood asthma, his parents felt he could not play a wind instrument.

    Vivaldi also studied to become a Catholic priest, a goal that he achieved by the age of 25.   He was named “The Red Priest” because of his red hair.  It was also at this time that he became the “master violinist” at an orphanage (he was considered a virtuoso violinist).  Over the next 30 years, he composed many of his best-known works there.    At the time, opera was the most popular form of entertainment. Vivaldi knew this and started writing operas as a sort of second career.   He became so popular that he was asked to become the orchestra director and composer for an Italian prince.  During this period (around 1717-1730) he wrote his most famous pieces, The Four Seasons concertos for violin.  

    As the public’s musical tastes changed, so did Vivaldi’s fortunes.  Eventually, people tired of his music, causing him to have financial troubles.  He eventually moved to Vienna and died with very little money in 1741 (age 63).   Nevertheless, he and his music became even more popular after his death.   His most famous pieces are The Four Seasons, the operas La Silvia and Griselda, as well as dozens of other numbered concertos and sonatas for strings and wind instruments. 


    Map of Venice, Italy 

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