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Mandolinist Avital headlines DSO Vivaldi program

Michael H. Hodges
Detroit News Fine Arts Writer
Israeli mandolinist Avi Avital will perform in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's "Vivaldi's Gloria" program April 25-27.

Orchestra Hall will swell with baroque precision April 25-27 when the Detroit Symphony Orchestra celebrates "Vivaldi's Gloria," with four works by one of the classical canon's biggest crowd-pleasers.

The guest conductor will be Nicholas McGegan, whom the London Independent called "one of the finest baroque conductors of his generation." The featured soloist will be the celebrated Israeli mandolinist Avi Avital.

The program includes Vivaldi's Concerto for Strings, Concerto for Mandolin, Concerto Grosso and his mass, "Gloria." For spice, Avital will also perform Anna Clyne's recent Concerto for Mandolin and Strings "Three Sisters," giving his instrument special prominence throughout the evening.

Avital "is just a phenomenal musician," said Erik Rönmark, DSO vice-president and general manager, "and plays all kind of repertoire. He once even did Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons' on the mandolin."

The program, Rönmark promised, "will show Avi’s depth and breadth as a musician. Not only will he be playing a 400-year-old work, but one that was written just two years ago by British composer Clyne."

Antonio Vivaldi, who was born in Venice in 1648 and died in Vienna in 1741, exemplified remarkable depth and breadth himself.

Ordained as a Roman Catholic priest, the young man was an extraordinary violinist as well as composer, and for much of his career occupied various posts at Venice's Ospedale della Pietà, an orphanage for little girls know for musicianship.

Rönmark, whose wife is a violinist, has made pilgrimage to that particular musical shrine.

"We visited the Pietà on our honeymoon," he said, "and had to stop by and look at the instruments that Vivaldi bought for the school" -- some of which were crafted by the legendary Antonio Stradivari.

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'Vivaldi's Gloria'

Detroit Symphony Orchestra, 3711 Woodward, Detroit

7:30 p.m. April 25, 8 p.m. April 26, 8 p.m. April 27

Tickets: $15-$100

(313) 576-5111