Program Books/Avi Avital

Avi Avital

mandolin

A pioneering artist and the first mandolin soloist to be nominated for a classical Grammy Award, Avi Avital has been compared to Andrés 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, which he has expanded not only with transcriptions of various pieces, but by commissioning more than 100 works for the mandolin.

Highlights of the 2023–24 season include performances with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony and Krzysztof Urbański, Vancouver Symphony and Tianyi Lu, and Camerata Salzburg and Anja Bihlmaier; concerts with the Kammerakademie Potsdam; and tours with Il Giardino Armonico with Giovanni Antonini, CHAARTS, and the Venice Baroque Orchestra. In addition to his current North American tour with accordionist Hanzhi Wang, Avital will perform recitals with Anneleen Lenaerts (harp), Omer Klein (jazz piano), and Brooklyn Rider. He is Artist-in-Residence at the Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele and will return to DeSingel Antwerp, Wigmore Hall London, Philharmonie Berlin, and the Rheingau and Schleswig-Holstein music festivals.

In 2023, Avital launched his new venture, the Between Worlds Ensemble, with a three-part residency at the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin and concerts in Bucharest, Warsaw, Hamburg, Ludwigshafen, and Antwerp. The ensemble was formed to explore different genres, cultures, and musical worlds, focusing on different geographical regions and in its first year featured traditional, classical, and folk music from the Iberian Peninsula, the Black Sea, and South Italy.

Avital’s recent engagements include the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Zürich Tonhalle, Deutsche Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Orchestre National de Lyon, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Israel Philharmonic, and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra.

Avital’s versatility has led to engagements as “Portrait Artist” at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, BOZAR in Brussels, and the Dortmund Konzerthaus (Zeitinsel), and as Artist-in-Residence at the Bodensee Festival and La Jolla Music Society (CA). He is a regular presence at major festivals such as Aspen, Salzburg, Hollywood Bowl, Tanglewood, Ravenna, MISA Shanghai, Cheltenham, Verbier, Lucerne, Bad Kissingen, Rhein­gau, Gstaad, and Tsinandali.

Avital is an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, and his seventh album, Concertos, recorded with Il Giardino Armonico and Giovanni Antonini, features mandolin concertos by Vivaldi, Hummel, Bach, Barbella, and Paisiello. His album The Art of the Mandolin (2020) received outstanding international press acclaim. Previous recordings include Bach (2019), Avital meets Avital (2017), Vivaldi (2015), an album of Avital’s own transcriptions of Bach concertos (2012), and Between Worlds (2014).

Born in Be’er Sheva in southern Israel, Avital began learning the mandolin at the age of eight and later studied at the Jerusalem Music Academy and the Conservatorio Cesare Pollini in Padua with Ugo Orlandi.

He plays a mandolin made by Israeli luthier Arik Kerman (1998); strings: Thomastik-Infeld (154, Medium).