Antonio Vivaldi

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Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice on March 4th, 1678 to Giovanni Vattista Vivaldi and his wife Camilla Calicchio. Giovanni Vivaldi was originally a barber but like his son, was strongly in love with the violin and began teaching violin at a school as a part of the St. Mark Basilica orchestra. Antonio was the first born of nine children, he was very sickly and feeble as an infant that he was baptized immediately because the midwife feared he wouldn't survive long. It was clear from early in his life that he had musical talents. Antonio and his father performed together and were even noted as "one of Venice's main tourist attractions." He soon became his father's replacement in the church orchestra; therefore, Vivaldi was reared with the great tradition of Venetian music.

Vivaldi began his study of priesthood at the age of fourteen or fifteen according to The Life and Times of Antonio Vivaldi.

It was a familiar practice for a poor family to get a free education for their children as well as being a member of the clergy gained respect in the city. Vivaldi's red hair, inherited from his father, earned him the name 'Red Priest'. He was ordained on March 23 1703 at the age of 25 and he accepted the position at an all girls orphanage called the Ospedale dell Pieta, meaning the hospital of pity. The Ospedale dell Pieta was often misconceived as an orphanage but the truth was the school's residents were mostly made up of the illegitimate daughters of Venice's noblemen. Thus, Ospedale was well endowed by the 'anonymous fathers,' and the school was kept up and the young ladies were well taken care of including their musical standards which were among the highest in Venice. Vivaldi was both the music...