Viva Vivaldi! returns to D.C.

Critic's Choice

Classical Music

April 28, 2002|By Tim Smith

This may not be the best time to recall a priest who surrounded himself with young girls, but we're not talking about anything remotely scandalous.

Antonio Vivaldi, the Italian composer most famous for his violin concertos called The Four Seasons, was ordained a priest in 1703. That same year, he became music director at Pio Ospedale della Pieta, a home and school for orphaned and abandoned girls, in Venice. Vivaldi taught violin and churned out compositions for the institution's extraordinary all-girl orchestra.

Since 1998, the Washington Chamber Symphony has re-created Vivaldi's girl band every two years through an international competition for female musicians up to the age of 18. For the third Viva Vivaldi!, 36 young ladies from the United States, Canada and Russia have gathered for rehearsals and auditions for solo concerto spots (the participants include Rachael Cooper of Woodsboro, Md., who is principal violist of the Peabody Preparatory Sinfonietta).

Viva Vivaldi! wraps up with a concert conducted by Stephen Simon at 2 p.m. today at the Kennedy Center, 2700 F St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Tickets are $12 to $37.50. Call 202-452-1321.

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