Avi Avital


Whoever is able to turn the small, round mandolin into a star instrument must be a very charismatic magician indeed. He always seems incredibly present, but his orbit is a different one; one where many worlds are heard.
Go to Biography


The first mandolin soloist to be nominated for a classical Grammy, Avi Avital has been compared to Andres Segovia for his championship of his instrument and to Jascha Heifitz for his incredible virtuosity. Passionate and “explosively charismatic” (New York Times) in live performance, he is a driving force behind the reinvigoration of the mandolin repertory. More than 100 contemporary compositions have been written for him, 15 of them concertos including by Anna Clyne, Avner Dorman and Giovanni Sollima, which will be premiered in 2019/20. Enhanced by his infectious spirit of adventure and the warm rapport he fosters with his audience, Avital’s championship of his instrument is taking the mandolin centre stage.
An exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, he has made four recordings for the label and the next one is already in the making. Recently released “Avital meets Avital” (2017) with oud/bassist, Omer Avital, explores their shared cultural heritage and brings their differing classical and jazz musical backgrounds into dialogue. Earlier releases featured original concerti and transcriptions by Vivaldi (2015) his own Bach concerto transcriptions (2012) and “Between Worlds” (2014), a cross-generic chamber collection exploring the nexus between classical and traditional music.

Avital’s inspired music-making has electrified audiences in performances around the world. He has performed with orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Tonhalle Zurich, Israel Philharmonic, Dresden Phiharmonic, Tasmania Symphony Orchestra, St Louis Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal under conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano, Osmo Vänskä, Ton Koopman and Giovanni Antonini. Performances have taken him to Beijing’s National Centre for the Performing Arts, London’s Wigmore and Royal Albert Halls, Berlin Philharmonie, Zurich’s Tonhalle, Barcelona’s Palau de la Música Catalana, Paris Philharmonie, Vienna Konzerthaus, New York’s Carnegie Hall and Palais de Versailles with a live telecast on TV Arte.
„The words “superstar” and “mandolinist” still look odd next to each other. Yet in the classical world they are starting to be joined with some frequency [...] Avi Avital [...] was nothing short of electric.”New York Times • Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim • March 12th, 2015
He is a favourite on the international festival circuit having appeared at the Aspen, Salzburg, Tanglewood, Spoleto, Ravenna, Cheltenham and Verbier Festivals, amongst others, and he was Portrait Artist at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in 2017, which involved over 20 performances of 10 different programmes. Artistic partners in a variety of genres with whom he collaborates include Andreas Scholl, Juan Diego Flórez, Dawn Upshaw, Giora Feidman, Ray Chen, David Greilsammer, Richard Galliano, Ksenija Sidorova, Itamar Doari and the Dover and Danish String Quartets. He was featured artist in a Zeitsinsel at the Dortmund Konzerthaus where he curated a weekend of programmes featuring classical, jazz and improvisations and a new collaboration with the Venice Baroque Orchestra and Georgian puppet theatre, Budrugana Gagra.

Highlights of his 2018/19 season include performances with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo, Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Tonhalle Orchester Zurich, Monte-Carlo Philharmonic, Residentie Orkest, Detroit Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and a tour of Europe with The Knights.

Born in Be’er Sheva in southern Israel, Avital began learning the mandolin at the age of eight and soon joined the flourishing mandolin youth orchestra founded and directed by his charismatic teacher, Russian-born violinist Simcha Nathanson. He later graduated from the Jerusalem Music Academy and the Conservatorio Cesare Pollini in Padua, Italy, where he studied original mandolin repertoire with Ugo Orlandi. Winner of Israel’s prestigious Aviv Competition in 2007, Avital is the first mandolinist in the history of the competition to be so honoured. He plays on a mandolin made by Israeli luthier Arik Kerman.

Season 2018 / 2019
This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless expressly authorized by artist management.



2019 / 2020

Sauli: III Partita for solo Mandolin in C major (“per c, sol, fa, ut.”)
Joyce: Replay
Bloch: Nigun from Baal-Shem, arranged for solo Mandolin
Kuwahara: Improvised Poem for solo Mandolin (2001)
Avital: Kedma for retuned Mandolin (2006)
Bach: Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004

with Ksenija Sidorova (Accordion)

Kreisler: Prelude and Allegro – in the style of Gaetano Pugnani
Mozart: Sonata No. 21 in E minor K 304
Stravinski: Suite Italienne from “Pulcinella”
Bach: Chaconne from the Partita No. 2 in d Minor, BWV 1004
Rachmaninov: “Vocalise”, Op. 34/14
Kusiakov: “Autumn Landscapes”
Budashkin: Concert for Mandolin in A minor

with Ohad Ben-Ari (Piano)

Kreisler: Prelude and Allegro – in the style of Gaetano Pugnani
Mozart: Sonata No. 21 in E minor K 304
Stravinski: Suite Italienne from “Pulcinella”
Ravel: Vocalise – étude en forme de Habanera
Beethoven: Andante Con Variazioni in D major, WoO 44/29
Bartók: Romanian Folk Dances
De Falla: Siete Canciones Populares Españolas

with the Venice Baroque Orchestra
December 3rd – 8th, 2019

Vivaldi: Sinfonia in C major for Strings and Basso Continuo, RV 114
Vivaldi: Sinfonia in D minor for Strings and Basso Continuo, RV 127
Vivaldi: Concerto for Lute in D major, RV 93
Marcello: Sinfonia in G major for Strings and Basso Continuo
Vivaldi: Concerto in A minor for Strings and Violin (here: Mandolin), RV 356
Geminiani: Concerto Grosso for Strings in D minor “La Follia” (after A. Corelli Op. 5 No. 12)
Vivaldi: Concerto for Mandolin in C major, RV 425
Paisiello: Concerto for Mandolin in E-flat Major
Vivaldi: Concerto in G minor, “Summer”, RV 315, from The Four Seasons

Mein Herz – Aufbruch in die Moderne
with Martina Gedeck (Voice), David Adorján (Cello)
An Else Lasker-Schüler evening in remembrance of her 150th birthday – by Stephan Barbarino.
November 18th – 24th, 2019

Excerpts from the epistolary novel “Mein Herz” as well as poems written by Else Lasker-Schüler until her emigration in 1933 and with works from Widmann, Schulhoff, Henze, Glière, Bloch, Bartók, Kodály and Ravel as well as own improvisations.

Bartók: Cradle Song, Pillow Dance and Arabian Song from: 44 Duos for 2 Violins Sz 98
Bloch: Nigun from Baal-Shem Suite
Glière: Berceuse from Eight Pieces for Violin and Cello, Op. 39
Henze: Poco allegretto and Vivace from: Serenade for Cello solo
Kodály: Allegro serioso, non troppo from: Duo for Violine and Cello, Op. 7
Ravel: Très vif and Lent from: Sonata for Violin and Cello
Schulhoff: Zingaresca. Allegro giocoso from: Duo for Violin and Cello
Widmann: Valse bavaroise from 24 Duos for Violin and Cello

Avi Avital meets Omer Avital
with Omer Avital (Double bass, Oud), Jonathan Avishai (Piano), Itamar Doari (Percussion)
November 1st – 7th, 2019

A dialogue between the musical worlds: Avi Avital meets Omer Avital is a dialogue between two musicians with completely different musical backgrounds, but with a mutual musical heritage.
In this project, the Grammy-nominated mandolinist Avi Avital, who descends from classical music tradition, gets together with Grammy-winner and Jazz bass player / Jazz composer Omer Avital. With support of piano and percussion the two musicians are constructing a melting pot of North African sounds, folkloristic and classical music traditions, Israeli harmonies and Mediterranean rhythms, which in the end states wonderfully how well sensitive chamber music and wild emotional Jazz can be combined.

Season PDF download


19:30 Uhr
Heidelberg, DE / Kongreßhaus Stadthalle Heidelberg
Avi Avital, Nuria Rial, Venice Baroque Orchestra
10:00 Uhr
Potsdam, DE / Nikolaisaal • Café RICCIOTTI im Foyer
Avi Avital, Ohad Ben-Ari
19:00 Uhr
Rapperswil-Jona, CH / Schloss Rapperswil
Avi Avital, orchester le phénix
19:30 Uhr
Greifensee, CH / Reformierte Kirche Greifensee
Avi Avital, orchester le phénix
17:00 Uhr
Chur, CH / Marsöl Saal
Avi Avital, orchester le phénix
19:00 Uhr
Duisburg, DE / Mercatorhalle im CityPalais
Avi Avital, Martina Gedeck, David Adorján, Stephan Barbarino
Basel w/Omer Klein, / venue TBA
Avi Avital, Omer Klein
11:15 Uhr
Zürich, CH / Tonhalle Maag
Avi Avital, Martina Gedeck, David Adorján, Stephan Barbarino, Robert Lenzbauer
17:30 Uhr
Bürgenstock, CH / Bürgenstock Kapelle
Avi Avital
17:30 Uhr
Bürgenstock, CH / Bürgenstock Kapelle
Avi Avital
16:00 Uhr
Bürgenstock, CH / Villa Honegg
Avi Avital


Avital meets Avital
Omer Avital
Lonely Girl
Ana Maghrebi
Ballad For Eli

Avi Avital
Avi's Song

Moshe Wilenski
The Source And The Sea (Balada Al Maayan Ve`Yam)

Omer Avital - Double bass, Oud
Jonathan Avishai - Piano
Itamar Doari - Percussion

Antonio Vivaldi
Concerto in A minor, RV 356
Concerto in D major, RV 93
Mandolin Concerto in C major, RV 425
Largo from Concerto in C major, RV 443
Trio Sonata in C major, RV 82
Concerto in G minor, RV 315, "Summer" from "The Four Seasons"

Juan Diego Florez - Tenor
Mahan Esfahani - Harpsichord
Ophira Zakai - Lute
Patrick Sepec - Cello
Venice Baroque Orchestra

Between Worlds

Tsintsadze: Sachidao; Miniatures on Georgian Folk Themes
Bartók: 6 Romanian Dances
Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5
Piazzolla: Fugy y misterio
Falla: Siete canciones populares espanolas
Monti: Csardas
Bloch: Nigun from Baal Shem
Chaim: Freilach Ron (klezmer improvisation)
Dvorak: Vivace ma non troppo from String Quartet No. 12
Traditionals: Bucimis; Hen Ferchetan

Richard Galliano - Accordion
Giora Feidman - Clarinet

Johann Sebastian Bach
Concerto for Mandolin and Strings BWV 1041, 1052, 1056
Sonata BWV 1034 for Mandolin and Basso Continuo

Kammerakademie Potsdam


Avital meets Avital Trailer (Live in Bremen)
Avi Avital - Vivaldi (Trailer)
Duo Avi Avital & Ksenija Sidorova - BR feature