Vivaldi was a composer and violinist, noted especially for his development of the solo concerto.
was born in Venice into a musical family, and was trained by his father, a
violinist at San Marco Cathedral. At the age of 25 he became a priest, but he
only actively practiced as such for one year. He had red hair, so the nickname
"Red Priest" stayed with him for the rest of his life. He became a
teacher and conductor at a music school attached to an orphanage for girls in
Venice, and he composed orchestral and vocal music for performance by his girls.
wrote over 200 violin concertos, and many other concertos for different
instruments including, unusually, 37 for the bassoon. His most famous work is a
set of 4 concertos named after the 4 seasons. He also wrote 60 concerti grossi,
a sort of precursor to the symphony. A short choral work which is very popular
today is his Gloria.
Vivaldi was famous during most of his life, but died
a pauper in Vienna in 1741, and his music was almost forgotten for the next 200
years. It was revived in about 1950 and has once again achieved popularity