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99.5CRB - Out of the Box interviews Avi Avital on the 'Art of the Mandolin'

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99.5CRB - Boston - CHRIS VOSS writes.......When I asked Israeli mandolinist Avi Avital about his newest album and how it differed from his previous mandolin albums, he answered me with a wry, winking smile: "I don't have other mandolin albums."

Which is true enough.

Avital's past albums - like the 2012 Bach album or the 2015 Vivaldi album - have mostly included pieces composed for other instruments, like the keyboard, violin, or guitar, in arrangements for mandolin. The mandolin was not the focus. As he puts it, those albums featured works that he enjoys playing "because it's beautiful music." To this day, that he plays the mandolin is simply "is a technical fact." 

But with Art of the Mandolin, music written for his instrument takes center stage.

In our discussion we explore the ins and outs of the instrument, talk about how composers's social perception of the mandolin shaped how they wrote for it, hear a work that was assumed to be for keyboard but simply makes more sense played on mandolin, and chat about Avital's passion for expanding the repertoire for his instrument through frequent commissioned works.

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW