Stories » Avi Avital is on a mandolin mission / Daily Telegraph

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Avi Avital is on a mandolin mission / Daily Telegraph

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AVI Avital is doing for the mandolin what the great Spaniard Andreas Segovia did for the classical guitar - lifting the instrument from being an occasional curiosity into becoming a concert hall mainstream player. He's doing it by combining his own arrangements of Baroque and folk pieces written for the violin with works commissioned from contemporary composers to expand the limited repertoire. Apart from some works by Vivaldi and fleeting appearances in operas, there's not a lot of serious music written for the eight-string member of the lute family, and putting that right is his life's mission.

Judging by his debut tour for Musica Viva with the crack Giocoso String Quartet he's doing a wonderful job of it with a program featuring two superb new pieces for this unusual line-up and a stunning take on a fiddler's showcase in J.S. Bach's Chaconne. The Israeli mandolinist is one of the few classical musicians to have attracted a following more often associated with rock or sport stars.

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