Antonio Vivaldi was born in Venice in 1678 and died in 1741 in Vienna. Throughout his life, the Italian composer struggled with, what he called, ‘strettezza di petto’ (or, tightness of the chest) which caused him problems with his breathing and speech. Nevertheless, the composer’s ill-health didn’t deter him from producing an astonishingly large body of work, including some forty-six operas, five hundred concertos and numerous chamber and vocal compositions. Many of Vivaldi’s compositions were written for the all-female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà where the composer had worked as a Catholic Priest for a year and a half. In fact, Vivaldi had actually studied as a priest for ten years from 1693 and received his Holy Orders in 1703. Owing to the nature of his eye-catching red hair, Vivaldi was commonly dubbed ‘Il Prete Rosse’ which translated as ‘The Red Priest'. This page includes some more information about the composer, particularly about his famous work for strings, The Four Seasons.