Antonio Vivaldi Fact File Biography: Lifespan: 1678 - 1741 *** Full Name: Antonio Lucio Vivaldi *** Nickname: Il Prete Rosso (The Red Priest) *** Occupation: Italian Baroque Composer, Virtuosos Violinist, Teacher and Cleric *** Date of Birth: Antonio Vivaldi was born in 1678 *** Place of Birth: Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice, Republic of Venice *** Family background: His father was Giovanni Battista Vivaldi and his mother was Camilla Calicchio. His father was a barber initially before he became a violinist himself and would teach his young son *** Early life and childhood: Antonio Vivaldi grew up with five siblings, Margarita Gabriela, Cecilia Maria, Bonaventura Tomaso, Zanetta Anna and Francesco Gaetano *** Education: Antonio Vivaldi may have received a very basic education ***
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 1: Antonio Vivaldi was born in 1678 and during the 17th century period in history when during this period there were mass changes that took place in philosophy as well as science. It was also a time when medieval alchemy would become the chemistry of the future and there were many innovations.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 2: His father initially taught him how to play the violin and then took him on tour with him.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 3: It is believed Antonio Vivaldi began to learn from an age as his knowledge by the time he was twenty four was quite extensive.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 4: His father was one of the founders of the Sovvegno dei musicisti di Sana Cecilia, which was an guild specifically for musicians.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 5: Giovanni Legenzi one of the early composers of the baroque period was also the president of the Sovvegno and the maestro di cappella of St Mark’s Basilica and it was thought he gave Antonio his lessons on composing.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 6: It was also thought that Antonio Vivaldi's father was a composer of some note as well, an opera written under the name of Giovanni Battista Rossi called La Fedelta sfortunata was thought to have been written by him.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 7: Antonio Vivaldi was ordained into the priesthood in at twenty five years of age in 1703 when he was given the nickname The Red Priest which referred to the color of his hair being red.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 8: Although Antonio Vivaldi remained a priest throughout his live he did not conduct many priestly duties due to ill health, it was said he suffered from a tightness around his chest that was attributed to asthma and so likewise he was unable to play wind instruments and often suffered poor health.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 9: Antonio Vivaldi would become master of violin in September 1703 at Pio Ospedale della Pieta which was an orphanage.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 10: Although he would be famed largely for his compositional gifts and skill he was also a violinist of exceptional technique.Antonio Vivaldi Fact 17: Around 1717 Antonio Vivaldi was offered the esteemed position as Maestro di Cappello at the court of Prince Philip of Hesse-Darmstadt and he accepted. While he was there he wrote several operas.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 11: Johann Friedrich Armand von Ufenbach said of him "Vivaldi played a solo accompaniment excellently, and at the conclusion he added a free fantasy [an improvised cadenza] which absolutely astounded me, for it is hardly possible that anyone has ever played, or ever will play, in such a fashion."
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 12: At only twenty five years of age Antonio Vivaldi began working at the Ospedale della Pieta and over the following thirty years composed the majority of his most important work while he worked there.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 13: Around Venice were four institutions similar to one Vivaldi worked in. The purpose of them was to provide shelter and an education to those children orphaned or abandoned by parents who could not care for them. The girls were given a musical education and those displaying the most talent could remain and become members of the choir and orchestra. The boys would be taught a trade and would have to leave by the time they were fifteen.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 14: After Vivaldi had taken up his position there, the orphans began to acquire quite a reputation. He wrote cantatas, concertos and sacred vocal music for them. Of the sacred works he produced more than sixty pieces of work that included large-scale choral works for soloists as well as solo motets, orchestra and double choruses.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 15: By 1704 his position would include the teaching of the violin as well.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 16: Every year the board of directors at Ospedale had to take a vote as to whether he stayed or was replaced and every year the vote was always close until 1709 when Antonio Vivaldi was voted out. He left and became a freelance musician but by the following year, by a unanimous decision, he was recalled to his previous position, the board of directors having realized how important he actually was.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 18: By 1725 Antonio Vivaldi made his return to Venice and in that he produced four operas and wrote one of his most famous pieces, Four Seasons.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 19: As his reputation grew so he was more and more sought after across Europe among the royalty and nobility.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 20: In 1730 Antonio Vivaldi travelled with his father to Prague and Vienna where he presented his opera Farnace.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 21: As his fame waned he found himself in trouble financially, his music fell out of fashion as was so often the case. His Royal patron Charles VI, died which left him without a regular income and no protection and so Antonio Vivaldi became penniless.
Antonio Vivaldi Fact 22: Antonio Lucio Vivaldi died on July 27th/28th 1741 aged sixty three years. His body was laid to rest next to Karlskirche
Influence & Legacy: The music that Antonio Vivaldi created has stood the test of time and is still revered today.