The first mandolin soloist to be nominated for a classical GRAMMY, Avi Avital was first taught mandolin in his native Israel by the charismatic Russian-born violinist Simcha Nathanson, then studied the original repertoire with Ugo Orlandi in Padova, Italy. Passionate, virtuosic and ‘explosively charismatic’ (New York Times) in live performance, his reinvigoration of the mandolin repertory has led to over 100 new works written for him, 15 of them concertos including by Anna Clyne and Giovanni Sollima. A regular recitalist at venues such as London’s Wigmore Hall, he is also increasingly in demand as a concerto soloist, playing with orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and conductors including Osmo Vänskä and Giovanni Antonini. An exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, his recordings range from Bach and Vivaldi to Henze and Georgian folk. He plays a mandolin made by Israeli luthier Arik Kerman.