Avi Avital

Mandolin

“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 who on Wednesday gave a performance of 18th-century Italian concertos at Zankel Hall with the Venice Baroque Orchestra [...] was nothing short of electric.”

The New York Times, Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, March 12th, 2015
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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.
Avital has commissioned over 100 works for the mandolin and recently added two new concertos for mandolin and symphony orchestra: Jennifer Higdon’s Mandolin Concerto (2021) was premiered in June 2021 by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Krzysztof Urbański and will have US performances with the Chicago Philharmonic, Mobile Symphony and Atlanta Symphony Orchestras. The Mandolin Concerto composed for him by Giovanni Sollima was premiered in January 2020 with RAI Torino/Bancroft and will receive its North American premiere with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Other concertos include Anna Clyne, David Bruce and Avner Dorman.
„Here is a musician who recognises no boundaries except those of good taste, and who has the artistry to persuade listeners to follow him anywhere
Gramophone
New York Times • Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim • March 12th, 2015
Highlights of the 2021-22 season include performances with Les Violins de Roy, a return to the Wigmore Hall with Arcangelo, and a tour of Germany with Il Pomo d’Oro performing a programme of Neapolitan music. His recent engagements include Il Giardiano Armonico, Chicago Symphony, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, BBC Symphony, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Zurich Tonhalle, Deutsche Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Orchestre National de Lyon, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Israel Philharmonic and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra working with conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano, Osmo Vänskä, Yutaka Sado, Jonathan Cohen, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Nicholas McGegan, Omer Meir Wellber, Ton Koopman and Giovanni Antonini.

Avital collaborates with musicians across many genres including Ksenija Sidorova, Giovanni Sollima, Mahan Esfahani, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Alice Sara Ott, Andreas Scholl, Dover Quartet, Danish String Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, Omer Klein, Omer Avital, actress Martina Gedeck and Georgian puppet theatre, Budrugana Gagra. His versatility has led to features as “Portrait Artist” at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, BOZAR in Brussels and the Dortmund Konzerthaus (Zeitinsel) and he is a regular presence at major festivals such as Aspen, Salzburg, Tanglewood, Spoleto, Ravenna, MISA Shanghai, Cheltenham, Verbier and Tsinandali.

An exclusive Deutsche Grammophone artist, his sixth album for the label “The Art of the Mandolin” has been received with high praise and top reviews in The Times, Independent, Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine as well as the international press. This follows recordings of solo Bach (2019), Avital meets Avital (2017) with oud/bassist Omer Avital, ECHO Klassik Award winning Vivaldi (2015), an album of Avital’s own transcriptions of Bach concertos and Between Worlds (2014), a cross-generic chamber collection exploring the nexus between classical and traditional music.

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 studied at the Jerusalem Music Academy and the Conservatorio Cesare Pollini in Padua 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.

2021 / 2022
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Contact: Katja Szarka

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Programme

2022 / 2023
Solo

Sollima: Prelude
Bach: Sonata No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001

Bach: Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004

Avital: Kedma for retuned Mandolin (2006)

Duo I
with Olga Pashchenko (Harpsichord)

Scarlatti: Sonata for Mandolin and Basso continuo G major, K 91
Valentini: Sonata for Mandolin and Basso continuo in A minor
Beethoven: Andante con variazioni for Mandolin and Fortepiano D major, WoO 44/2

Vivaldi: Sonata for Mandolin and Basso continuo in C major, F.XVI
Bach: Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1004
Bach: Sonata for Flute and obbligato Harpsichord in E minor, BWV 1034

Duo II
with Omer Klein (Jazz Piano)

Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Jazz compositions by Omer Klein, Israeli songs and improvisations – music is made here without boundaries…

Duo III
with Ksenija Sidorova (Accordion)

Kreisler: Prelude and Allegro – in the style of Gaetano Pugnani

Mozart: Sonata No. 21 in E minor KV 304 (original for Violin and Piano)

Stravinsky: Suite Italienne from “Pulcinella” (original for Violoncello and Piano)

***

Villa-Lobos: Bachiana Brasilieras No. 5 / Aria

de Falla: Siete canciones populares españolas

Bartók: Romanian folk dances

Budashkin: Concerto for Mandolin in A minor

Faith & Knowledge
with Maurice Steger, David Bergmüller, Hille Perl & Sebastian Wienand

Bach: from “Piano booklet for Wilhelm Friedemann Bach”

Bach: from “Music booklet for Anna Magdalena Bach”

Avi Avital & Between Worlds Ensemble

The long and versatile history of the mandolin makes it the perfect companion on this world tour. Like a chameleon, its tonal characteristics allow it to take on the sound of the most diverse regions.

The individual projects of the Between Worlds Ensemble concentrate on one geographical region at a time. In the process, completely new arrangements lead the music back to its traditional roots.

This interaction between musical cultures reveals similarities as well as differences – and can thus also become a springboard for panel discussions and educational projects: The audience is invited to reconsider their own understanding of borders, and perhaps to question whether they exist at all.

Between Worlds Ensemble is a project that will span two years with three programmes per season. In 2022 / 2023 these are Iberia, Black Sea, Italy.

2021 / 2022

Schedule

27.11.2021
19:30 Uhr
CH / Zürich
Avi Avital, Els Biesemans

Discography

Avital meets Avital
Omer Avital
Zamzama
Lonely Girl
Ana Maghrebi
Ballad For Eli
Maroc
Hijazain

Avi Avital
Avi's Song
Prelude

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

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

Vivaldi
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

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

Kammerakademie Potsdam

Videos

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

Contact

Katja Szarka
t: +49 (0)30 414 781 715
f: +49 (0)30 414 781 713