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Concerto in G minor for Strings and Basso Continuo, RV 156
The Four Seasons
Aria “Lo seguitai felice” from L’Olimpiade
Traditional songs from Venice

Avi Avital mandolin and leader
Estelí Gomez

About This Concert

A concert that celebrates the genius of Vivaldi, including his ever-fresh, always evocative, The Four Seasons, here in the talented hands of the acclaimed mandolinist, Avi Avital. Vivaldi’s music is set in its Venetian context with evocative traditional music from the floating city, featuring the Grammy Award-winning soprano Estelí Gomez.


Herbst Theatre, San Francisco
7:30 PM
Bing Concert Hall, Stanford
7:30 PM
First Congregational Church, Berkeley
2:30 PM
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mandolin and leader

Avi Avital

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.

He has commissioned over 100 works for the mandolin including concertos for mandolin and orchestra by Anna Clyne, Jennifer Higdon, Avner Dorman, David Bruce and Giovanni Sollima which he has performed with orchestras and conductors such as the Munich Philharmonic with Krzysztof Urbański, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Robert Spano, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI and Ryan Bancroft and the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Daniele Rustioni.

Highlights of the 2022/23 season see performances of the Mandolin Concertos by Jennifer Higdon, Anna Clyne and Giovanni Sollima commissioned for Avital, alongside tours with the Academy of Sat Martin in the Fields, Il Giardino Armonico with Giovanni Antonini, B’Rock and Arcangelo, duo recitals with Ksenija Sidorova (accordion), Olga Pashchenko (harpsichord/fortepiano) and Omer Klein (piano), and a tour of Australia with cellist Giovanni Sollima. Avital launches his new venture, the “Between Worlds Ensemble” with a three-part residency at the Boulez Saal in Berlin. The ensemble was formed to explore different genres, cultures and musical worlds focusing on different geographical regions and in its first year will feature traditional, classical and folk music from the Iberian Peninsula, Black Sea and Italy.

Avi Avital collaborates with musicians across many genres including Mahan Esfahani, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Alice Sara Ott, Andreas Scholl, the Dover Quartet, the 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). He is a regular presence at major festivals such as Aspen, Salzburg, Tanglewood, Spoleto, Ravenna, MISA Shanghai, Cheltenham, Verbier and Tsinandali.

An exclusive Deutsche Grammophon 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. Previous recordings “Bach” (2019), “Avital meets Avital” (2017), “Vivaldi” (2015), an album of Avital’s own transcriptions of Bach concertos (2012) and “Between Worlds” (2014) also received numerous awards.

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 Competitions 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.


Estelí Gomez

Praised for her “clear, bright voice” (New York Times) and “artistry that belies her young years” (Kansas City Metropolis), soprano Estelí Gomez is quickly gaining recognition as a stylish interpreter of early and contemporary repertoires. In January 2014 she was awarded a GRAMMY with contemporary octet Roomful of Teeth, for best chamber music/small ensemble performance; in November 2011 she received first prize in the Canticum Gaudium International Early Music Vocal Competition in Poznan, Poland. Estelí can be heard on the soundtrack of Lena Dunham’s 2022 film Catherine, Called Birdy, Seattle Symphony’s 2017 recording of Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3, on the first track of Silkroad Ensemble’s Grammy-winning 2016 album Sing Me Home, and on Roomful of Teeth’s self-titled debut album, for which composer Caroline Shaw’s Partita was awarded the 2013 Pulitzer Prize.

Highlights of the season include recording a Spanish translation of Handel’s Messiah with Bach Collegium San Diego; the world premiere of chamber opera Dreams Have No Borders in Ashland, OR; solo appearances with Orchestra Iowa, Madison Bach Musicians, Spire Chamber Ensemble, Sheboygan Symphony, and the Early Music Latin America Festival in El Paso TX; performances at the Washington National Cathedral, Cathedral Church of the Advent Birmingham, and Epiphany Parish of Seattle; artist residencies at Avaloch Farms, University of Oregon Eugene, and UNC Greensboro; and concerts at the Barbican and Baryshnikov Arts Center, with additional tours throughout Europe, with Roomful of Teeth. Roomful’s third studio album, Rough Magic, received two GRAMMY nominations for 2024.

Estelí teaches at Lawrence University as assistant professor of voice, in addition to continuing her work as a performer. Originally from Watsonville, California, Estelí received her Bachelor of Arts with honors in music from Yale College, and Master of Music from McGill University, studying with Sanford Sylvan. She is also a proud member of Beyond Artists, a coalition of artists who donate a percentage of their concert fees to organizations they care about. She is currently donating to RAICES and the Texas Civil Rights Project.