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Antonio Vivaldi


Antonio Vivaldi
March 4, 1678 in Venice, Italy
July 28, 1741, Vienna, Austria.

Antonio Vivaldi was born on March 4, 1678 in Venice, Italy. Antonio's father, Giovanni Battista, a barber before becoming a violinist, taught young Antonio to play the violin and then toured Venice playing the violin with him.

At the age of 15, Antonio began training to become a priest. At the age of 25, he was ordained a priest and soon after became known as the II Prete Rosso, "The Red Priest", because of his red hair. Due to his health, he left the priesthood in 1703 after only 3 years. But he was still able to pursue a career in music.

Antonio Vivaldi

Vivaldi's music is joyful, almost playful, revealing his own joy of composing. In addition, Vivaldi was able to compose non-academic music which means it would be enjoyed by many people rather than just college professors. It was these qualities that made Vivaldi's music very popular. Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, composed in 1723, is a set of four concertos for violin. It is his most popular work and is among the most popular works of the Baroque Era. For this composition he wrote sonnets to match each season.

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Antonio Vivaldi learned the craft of music from his father. a  violinist in a church orchestra in Venice, Italy. Young Antonio  served in church orchestras and eventually studied for the priesthood. He was ordained as a priest in 1703 at the age of 25 but never served the church in a religious capacity. However, he remained active in music, and served the church as a musician.

Vivaldi began composing sonatas for keyboard instruments  around 1705. He also played violin in opera orchestras, developed a love of opera and composed several operas. This was unusual and controversial; priests were not supposed to compose music for non-church related activities. His first opera was performed in 1713 (age 35).

From 1709 through  1714, Vivaldi had the financial backing of an Italian prince in the city of Mantua, and he continued composing operas in addition to keyboard, vocal, and orchestral works. When the prince ended his support, Vivaldi accepted a position as orchestral conductor at St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice, Italy, the same church and orchestra in which his father had played violin. He held this position for 27 years. He also served as the director of a musical conservatory in Venice.

By 1719 (age 41), another wealthy patron had begun to provide financial support for Vivaldi. For the next several years he composed operas for opera companies throughout Italy, including Rome and Milan, where audiences were the most discriminating. By 1725 his compositions, including his operas were well known throughout Europe. His music was more popular in Holland. France, and England than in Italy; many Italians were uncomfortable with an ordained priest composing operas. In fact, in 1734, one of his operas, was banned in Italy because he was a priest.

Vivaldi traveled throughout Europe in the late 1730s and earl 1740s and lived briefly in Holland, where his music was very popular. Despite occasional disagreements with   the church over his operas, Vivaldi remained a, orchestral conductor at St. Mark's  in Venice. In 1741 (age 63), he moved to Vienna. Austria, hoping to receive an offer as a court musician or composer. However he received no offers and died in Vienna.

After Vivaldi's death, his music was rarely performed until the twentieth century, when musicians and audiences rediscovered it. During his lifetime, he was   known as an opera composer. Today, while his opera, are again being performed, his orchestral works are most popular. Vivaldi claimed to have written 94   operas but musical scholars have found scores for only 50.

Antonio Vivaldi
was a pleasant man with a full head of bright red hair. For this he was sometimes referred to as "the red priest." He was comfortable writing   music for both religious and concert performances.

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