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Avi Avital returns to Australia with a glittering lineage of traditional Mediterranean works

Two of classical music’s most exciting collaborators, mandolinist Avi Avital and cellist Giovanni Sollima, will tour their acclaimed program, Mediterranean, for Musica Viva Australia from September.


Frequent stage partners and long-time friends, the pair will explore the rich musical traditions originating from the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Intimate and conversational, this is a unique musical experience consisting of a set list of folk tunes and stories about shared times on the road.

A region with a deep history of migration, the Mediterranean continues to be a significant site for the exchange of culture across borders. Avi and Giovanni will illuminate some of these cultures, territories, and eras with a program that traces the migratory preservation of old traditions and the creation of new ones. They’ll perform traditional Salento, Bulgarian, Turkish, Sephardic, and Macedonian music, illuminating a little-heard and complex lineage of Mediterranean works.

Works by Italian masters Scarlatti, Frescobaldi, and Castello round out the program, with Giovanni set to perform his own compositions and improvisations in the spirit of creating new traditions. One of the highlights includes a work by Giovanni’s father, the composer Eliodoro Sollima’s Tarantella orientale. The mandolin and cello, a rare and special pairing, will bring to life four centuries of music from opposite sides of the sea.

At the forefront of the mandolin revival, Avi is a Grammy-nominated musician whose Musica Viva Australia debut in 2018 made him an instant audience favourite. Limelight Magazine hailed his “glittering sound” and preternatural ability to “fiercely [push] his instrument to the limit”. Giovanni is an equally compelling presence, likened to larger-than-life figures such as Jimi Hendrix.

Witness the unique alchemy of these long-time collaborators as they jam, play folk tunes, and share stories of their own cultural inheritances in Mediterranean. Avi Avital and Giovanni Sollima tour nationally for Musica Viva Australia from September 19 – October 10. The musicians will also be livestreamed on Tuesday 27 September at 7pm AEST.

**Update 20th September

Musica Viva Australia is thrilled to announce that Erin Helyard (harpsichord), the Artistic Director of Pinchgut Opera and Orchestra of the Antipodes, will replace Giovanni Sollima (who has unfortunately contracted COVID-19) for a performance with Avi Avital at Newcastle City Hall this Thursday evening, 7:30pm.

Together they’ll explore their shared passion for the baroque in a program celebrating masters such as Bach, Vivaldi, Scarlatti, framed by stories of Avi’s first encounters with this vibrant, often sublime body of work. It will be a conversational and intimate musical experience. Buy now Newcastle City Hall

Thursday 22 September, 7:30pm


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