Performance Wednesday, March 11, 2015 | 7:30 PM

Venice Baroque Orchestra

Zankel Hall
The exuberant virtuosity of Italian Baroque music is showcased in this program with mandolin star Avi Avital and the scintillating Venice Baroque Orchestra. Vivaldi’s brilliant string writing is the heart of his energetic sinfonias and beloved “Summer” from The Four Seasons. The Venetian master also wrote dazzling music for other instruments, including lute, recorder, and mandolin. These works and melodic delights by Marcello, Geminiani, and Paisiello are also featured.


  • Venice Baroque Orchestra
  • Avi Avital, Mandolin


  • VIVALDI Concerto in C Major for Strings and Continuo, RV 114
  • VIVALDI Concerto in D Minor for Strings and Continuo, RV 127
  • VIVALDI Concerto in D Major for Lute, Strings, and Continuo, RV 93
  • MARCELLO Concerto in G Major for Strings and Continuo
  • VIVALDI Concerto in G Major for Two Mandolins, Strings, and Continuo, RV 532 (arr. for mandolin and recorder by Avi Avital)
  • GEMINIANI Concerto Grosso in D Minor (after Corelli's Violin Sonata Op. 5, No. 12, "Folia")
  • VIVALDI Concerto in C Major for Mandolin, Strings, and Continuo, RV 425
  • PAISIELLO Concerto in E-flat Major for Mandolin and Strings
  • VIVALDI Concerto in G Minor for Violin and Continuo, "L'estate" ("Summer"), RV 315

  • Encores:
  • TRAD. (Bulgarian) "Bucimiš"
  • VIVALDI Largo from Concerto in C Major for Flautino, Strings, and Continuo, RV 443

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two and one-half hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Venice Baroque Orchestra

    Founded in 1997 by harpsichordist and conductor Andrea Marcon, Venice Baroque Orchestra is recognized as one of the very finest period-instrument ensembles. The orchestra receives wide critical acclaim for its performances throughout Europe, the Americas, and Asia. It has appeared in many more cities across the US than any other Baroque orchestra in history, and it maintains the most frequent touring schedule in Asia.

    Committed to the rediscovery of 17th- and 18th-century masterpieces, the orchestra has given the modern-day premieres of Francesco Cavalli's L'Orione, Vivaldi's Atenaide, Benedetto Marcello's La morte d'Adone, Boccherini's La Clementina, Cimarosa's L'Olimpiade, Handel's Siroe, and Galuppi's L'Olimpiade. Highly unusual for a Baroque ensemble, Venice Baroque Orchestra premiered a major contemporary work in the US: Philip Glass's Violin Concerto No. 2, "The American Four Seasons."

    Highlights of the current season include concerts with mandolinist Avi Avital in Europe, Mexico, and across the US; contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux in Paris; contralto Sonia Prina in Moscow and St. Petersburg; and soprano Karina Gauvin in Dresden. The season also includes a first collaboration with violinist Nicola Benedetti in Baden-Baden and concerts with longtime collaborator violinist Giuliano Carmignola.

    Last season featured extensive tours of Europe, the US, and Asia with countertenor Philippe Jaroussky; as well as concerts with Ms. Lemieux in France and Belgium, cellist Gautier Capuçon in Austria and France, cellist Mario Brunello in the US, and Mr. Carmignola throughout Europe.

    The orchestra's latest recording, released on Deutsche Grammophon, features mandolin concertos with Avi Avital. A recording of Porpora arias with Mr. Jaroussky and special guest Cecilia Bartoli was released by Erato Records in 2013. The year before, Naïve Records released a pasticcio of Metastasio's L'Olimpiade that featured the recording premieres of many 18th-century opera arias. Venice Baroque Orchestra has an extensive discography with Sony Music and Deutsche Grammophon, including the world-premiere recording of Andromeda liberata, numerous violin concertos with Mr. Carmignola; Vivaldi concertos for two violins with Mr. Carmignola and Viktoria Mullova; Vivaldi sinfonias for strings; two discs with Magdalena Kožená of Handel and Vivaldi arias; Italian arias with Patricia Petibon; and a collection of Bach arias with Angelika Kirchschlager. The orchestra has been honored with the Diapason d'Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, ECHO, and Edison awards.

    The orchestra has been seen worldwide through several television specials, including films by the BBC, ARTE, and NHK. It was featured in the documentary film by Richard Dindo, Vivaldi in Venice.

    Venice Baroque Orchestra is supported by the Fondazione Cassamarca in Treviso.

    More Info

  • Avi Avital

    Grammy-nominated mandolinist Avi Avital is one of the world's most exciting and enterprising musicians, deeply committed to building a fresh legacy for the mandolin through virtuosic performance and distinctive new repertoire, while also celebrating the instrument's Classical roots. He performs internationally as an orchestral soloist, chamber musician, and Baroque specialist, and also ventures into the realms of jazz and world music.

    Mr. Avital has performed at prestigious venues throughout the world, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, Berliner Philharmonie, KKL Luzern, Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, and Wigmore Hall in London. He has appeared as soloist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, I Pomeriggi Musicali, San Diego Symphony, Colorado Symphony, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, and Berliner Symphoniker, under the batons of Mstislav Rostropovich, Sir Simon Rattle, and Philippe Entremont, among others. Mr. Avital has been a guest at the Tanglewood, Aspen, Lucerne, Spoleto, Ravenna, and Savannah music festivals. He has performed more than 80 world premieres, including works written for him by composers Avner Dorman, David Bruce, Federico Gardella, and Josef Bardanashvili. He has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and Tiny Desk Concerts.

    Mr. Avital begins the 2014-2015 concert season with a recital at London's Wigmore Hall. In addition to other solo performances, he collaborates with Mahan Esfahani, Shalev Ad-El, Ksenija Sidorova, Ray Chen, David Greilsammer, Andreas Scholl, and the Danish String Quartet. He also embarks on an extensive North American tour with Venice Baroque Orchestra. Forthcoming orchestral engagements include concerto performances with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Kremerata Baltica, Die Kölner Akademie, Geneva Camerata, Israel Camerata, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, Hamburger Symphoniker, and I Musici di Roma.

    An exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artist, Mr. Avital's debut recording for the label in 2012, BACH, features his own transcriptions of J. S. Bach concertos for harpsichord and violin in arrangements for mandolin and orchestra. His second album, Between Worlds, was released in January 2014 and combines elements of classical music and traditional folk. An album with Venice Baroque Orchestra was released just last month. In 2010, Mr. Avital became the first mandolin player to receive a Grammy Award nomination as Best Instrumental Soloist for his recording of Avner Dorman's Mandolin Concerto with Andrew Cyr and the Metropolis Ensemble. In 2008, he received Germany's coveted ECHO Award for his recording with the David Orlowsky Trio.

    Mr. Avital was born in Beer Sheva, Israel, in 1978. He began learning the mandolin at the age of eight and later graduated from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, and Conservatorio statale di Musica "Cesare Pollini" in Padova, Italy. In 2013, he was the recipient of a generous grant from the Salon De Virtuosi. Mr. Avital lives in Berlin.

    More Info


Vivaldi's Concerto for Strings and Continuo in G minor, R. 152 (Allegro molto)
Venice Baroque Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon

At a Glance

Italy in the early 18th century—Venice in particular—was a hive of musical activity and innovation. Indeed, music was one of the country’s prime export industries. Italian composers (including Geminiani), instrumentalists, and, above all, singers fanned out across Europe to satisfy the growing taste for music in the brilliant Italian style. At the same time, musical tourists flocked to the Venetian Republic, drawn by its cosmopolitan culture and famously fun-filled Carnival celebrations. The city’s thriving musical venues ranged from Europe’s first public opera houses and scholarly academies to religious and secular institutions such as St. Mark’s Basilica and the Ospedale della Pietà, the girls’ orphanage cum conservatory where Vivaldi served as violin master.

One of the most prolific and influential composers of his era, Vivaldi is a staple of modern concert programs. But the enormous popularity of his music is a fairly recent phenomenon. As early as 1720, Marcello pilloried Vivaldi’s operas in his satire Il teatro alla moda (The Fashionable Theater), and by the late 1700s, his music had been consigned to obscurity. Not until the 1920s and ’30s with the rediscovery of many of his manuscript scores did interest in Vivaldi begin to pick up. The introduction of long-playing recordings after World War II gave a further fillip to the “Vivaldi craze,” a development that one musicologist called “as momentous for lovers of Baroque music as that of the Dead Sea Scrolls for students of religion.”

Program Notes


This performance is part of Baroque Unlimited.