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The Hands of Music: Antonio Lucio Vivaldi

Born in Venice, Republic of Venice (Italy) on 4 March 1678, Antonio Lucio Vivaldi would become one of the most brilliant composers of the Baroque era.

Vivaldi was taught to play music by his father who was a professional violinist. It was through his father that Vivaldi got to know and learn from a few of the best musicians and composers in Venice at the time. His violin playing skills were incredible but due to chronic shortness of breath, he could not pursue the mastering of wind instruments.

Other than musical education, Vivaldi also sought religious training. He started studying to become a priest at age 15 and was eventually ordained in 1703. He was nicknamed “il Prete Rosso”, or “the Red Priest”, because of his red hair. However, health issues prevented him from delivering mass and he had to abandon his priesthood shortly after his ordination.

Throughout his life, he continued to compose famous pieces of work.

He went on to travel, performing in places such as Vienna. Even though he was a renowned composer and musician, this did not necessarily translate into lasting financial success. He left Venice for Vienna, Austria in hopes of finding royal support and a position in the imperial court located there. He was a favourite of Charles VI, the Holy Roman Emperor, even being knighted by him. However, he found himself without a prominent patron after the death of Charles VI.

It was shortly after this that Vivaldi passed away in poverty in Vienna on 28 July 1741.

Although his works did not gain the popularity it has now till after his death, many of his works are still regularly played to this day. Take for example his most famous violin concerto, the Four Seasons. His other famous compositions also include operas, cantatas and sonnets.


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