Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), a towering figure of the late Italian Baroque was the son of a violinist in St, Lukes Cathedral in Venice. He became a priest but left the ministry after about a year because of ill health.
For most of his life, he was a violin teacher, composer and conductor at a Venetian music school for the orphaned and illegitimate girls. It was for all the school's all-female orchestra-considered one of the best in Itaky- that he composed his finedt works. Though he was famous and influential as a virtuoso violinist and composer his popularity waned shortly before his death in 1741. He died in poverty and was almost forgotten until the baroque revival in the 1940s and 50s.
Vivaldi is best known for his 450 or so concerti grossi and solo concertos. He exploited the resources of the violin and many other instruments and is noted for vigorous, tuneful, fast movements and impassioned lyrical slow movements.