Antonio Lucio Vivaldi

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi was born on March 4, 1678 in Venice His nickname was Il Prete Rosso which means the Red Priest. He was a Venetian priest and baroque music composer, as well as a famous violinist.

Antonio’s father Giovanni Battista was a barber before becoming a professional violinist. His father taught him to play violin. He toured Venice playing violin with his father. Giovanni Battista was one of the founders of the Sovvegno dei musicisti di Santa Cecilia, a sort of trade union for musicians and composers. The president of the association was Giovanni Legrenzi, the maestro di cappella at the Basilica of San Marco and noted early Baroque composer. It is possible that the Antonio's first lessons in composition were taught by him.

At the age of 15 in 1693, he began studying to become a priest. In 1703, at the age of 25, Vivaldi was ordained as a priest, he was given the nickname Il Prete Rosso, "The Red Priest," because of his red hair. In 1704, he had gotten sick and by 1706 he withdrew from active priesthood.

On 1 December 1703, Vivaldi became maestro di violino for a orphanage for girls named the Pio Ospedale della Pietà in Venice. He was promoted to maestro de' concerti in 1716.

His first real breakthrough came with his first collection of 12 concerti for one, two, and four violins with strings, L'Estro Armonico. This was a success. It was followed in 1714 by La Stravaganza , a collection of concerti for solo violin and strings.

Vivaldi started his carrer as opera writer. His first opera, Ottone in villa was performed not in Venice, but at the Garzerie theater in Vicenza in 1713. The next year Vivaldi went back to Venice and actually became the impresario of the theater Sant'Angelo . That is where his opera Orlando finto pazzo was performed.

In this same period of time, the Pietà commissioned several musical works. The most important were two oratorios. The first, Moyses Deus Pharaonis (RV 643) is unfortunately lost. The second,...

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