Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (March 4, 1678 – July 28, 1741), nicknamed il Prete Rosso (“The Red Priest”), was a Venetian Baroque composer, priest, and famous virtuoso violinist. He was born and raised in the Republic of Venice. The Four Seasons, a popular series of four violin concerti, is his best-known work. His other compositions include over 500 instrumental concertos, sacred choral works and over 40 operas.
Many of his compositions were written for the female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, an orphanage for poor and illegitimate children where Vivaldi worked between 1703 and 1740. Vivaldi also had some success with stagings of his operas in Venice, Mantua and Vienna. After meeting the Emperor Charles VI, Vivaldi moved to Vienna hoping for preferment. The Emperor died soon after Vivaldi’s arrival, and the composer died a pauper, without a steady source of income.
Well received during his lifetime, Vivaldi’s music went into a decline until it was rediscovered in the first half of the 20th century. Vivaldi’s music is popular with modern audiences.