Between Worlds with Avi Avital


April 7, 2014

After bursting on the scene two years ago with a recording of music by J.S. Bach, Avi Avital brings virtuosity on the mandolin to a collection of pieces born the intersections of disparate genres and regions of the world.

To hear an interview and performance in WCRB's Fraser Performance Studio, click on "Listen" above, and watch video below.

As a child growing up in a Moroccan Jewish community in the town of Be’er Sheva, between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in Israel, Avi Avital was surrounded by sounds that grew from lands and cultures both distant and nearby. The neighborhood was one of open doors and windows. Neighbors enjoyed relationships as if they were relatives.

As an after-school activity, Avital joined a mandolin ensemble as a boy, mostly because a friend was already in the group. He was immediately smitten with the instrument, which eventually led to study in Italy, the spiritual home of the mandolin.

Now based in Berlin, Germany, Avital turned to a composer of that country for the foundation of his first recording for the Deutsche Grammophon label. His interpretations of concertos and sonatas by Bach offered an unexpectedly lyrical voice for that eternal music, prompting one review to write, “Avital’s mandolin paints a pointillist rainbow, unlikely and all the more lovely for it.”


For his newest recording on DG, Avital collects works from a wide musical landscape, infusing each with his own distinct personality and sound. It includes relatively familiar works, like the Seven Popular Spanish Songs by Manuel de Falla and Béla Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances, as well as music that’s likely a new discovery for many listeners, like the Miniatures by Georgian composer Sulkhan Tsintsadze, or Traditional Bulgarian and Welsh songs.

Along the way, Avital’s mandolin combines with a variety of other instruments and their virtuoso players, like the accordion of Richard Galliano, the harp of Catrin Finch, and percussion instruments played by Itamar Doari.

As Avital says in the video above, Between Worlds is neither Folk nor Classical, allowing the listener to have his or her own associations when hearing the music.

Tune in to 99.5 WCRB to hear Avi Avital's Between Worlds.

To purchase Between Worlds, visit ArkivMusic.

To hear Avi Avital talk about and perform music by Bach, listen to The Bach Hour.

Watch more from WCRB's Fraser Performance Studio:


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