Conductors and soloists
The first mandolin soloist to be nominated for a classical Grammy, Avi Avital has been compared to Andres Segovia for his success in restoring his instrument to prominence 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 renaissance of the mandolin repertoire. More than 100 contemporary compositions have been written for him, including 15 concertos by such composers as Anna Clyne, Avner Dorman, and Giovanni Sollima (premiering in 2019/20). His infectious spirit of adventure and the warm rapport he fosters with his audience have helped establish him as a champion of his instrument and a prime mover in taking the mandolin centre stage.
An exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, Avi Avital has made four recordings for the label. His recently released Avital meets Avital (2017) with oud player and 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 on Vivaldi (2015), his own Bach concerto transcriptions (2012), and Between Worlds (2014), a genre-bending chamber collection exploring the nexus between classical and traditional music.
In 2018/19, Avital returns to Carnegie Hall to makes his debut on the main stage with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Additional highlights of the current season in the US include an appearance as soloist and guest conductor with the Seattle Symphony and performances with the Detroit Symphony, San Diego Symphony, and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. He also returns to Canada to perform with Les Violons du Roy, ahead of a North American tour in the following season. In the spring of 2019, following on his latest Deutsche Grammophon recording, Avital will tour North America with bassist Omer Avital. Recent appearances in the US include performances with the St. Louis Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, and Chicago Symphony.
Avi Avital was born in Be'er Sheva in southern Israel. He began playing the mandolin at age 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.
Concerto for Mandolin in C Major, RV425
Excerpts from The Art of the Fugue, BWV1080
Concerto for Violin in A Minor, BWV1041 (arr. for solo mandolin A. Avital)
Concerto for Lute in D Major, RV425 (arr. for solo mandolin A. Avital)
Concerto Grosso in G Minor, Op.3, No.2, RV578
Concerto for Harpsichord in D Minor, BWV1052 (arr. for solo mandolin A. Avital)