Mandolin Virtuoso Avi Avital Launches a Concerto for Instagram, Composed by Peter Breiner

07.18.16
Avi Avital
21C Media Group

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With his zealous commitment to revitalizing the legacy of his instrument, and passion for reaching the widest possible audience, mandolinist Avi Avital launches a new experimental project today called InstaConcerto. Commissioned by Avital, and composed for mandolin and strings by his longtime collaborator, Slovak-Canadian pianist, conductor and composer Peter Breiner, the five movements of the concerto are each just 15 seconds long. Avital – “a remarkable presence on stage, a natural musical leader, and a virtuoso on his instrument” (Calgary Herald) – is joined by the Kremerata Baltica orchestra on the project, which he will release on Instagram beginning today, July 18. His Instagram handle is @aviavital, and the first movement of the concerto can be seen by clicking the image below.


InstaConcerto is an experiment in art, music, social media, and composition, born of a casual discussion between Avital and Breiner. The idea was to see whether a concerto – traditionally thought of as a presentation and working out of themes by a soloist in alternation and collaboration with an orchestra – could retain its essential identity within the context of a time-restrictive social media platform. Social media outlets have attracted artists for as long as they have existed, in spite of, or perhaps due to, their limitations. Twitter immediately tempted poets to test the expressive potential of 140 characters; Instagram is an open invitation to distribute samples of visual art, but initially permitted only a square frame. Though it has now expanded the allowable video length to one minute, Avital and Breiner chose the iconic 15 seconds original allowable time on Instagram as their venue. Within those parameters, the composer tried to maintain a musical structure, a tension-release relationship in each movement that was perceptible despite the micro-miniature format. As Avital says: “We wanted to raise questions with this project, both about the artistic value of the composition within the given restrictions of the time-frame, and about the attention span of our generation and its relationship to classical music.” About the composer  Peter Breiner is one of the world's most recorded musicians, with over 200 CDs released. His album of arrangements Beatles Go Baroque sold more than a quarter of a million copies worldwide, and his arrangements of national anthems for all participating countries were used during the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He has composed scores for film and TV, as well as the huge multi-media project Slovak Dances, Nasty and Nice, which includes audio recording, interactive videos, and audience participation, and is based on his own 85-minute orchestral dance suite. Breiner has also conducted the Royal Philharmonic, Jerusalem Symphony, Hungarian State Radio Orchestra, Moscow Symphony, France’s Orchestra National de Lille and the Hong Kong Philharmonic, among many others, often doubling as a pianist. Proficient in seven languages, he has hosted various TV and radio programs about music, and in 1993 was a co-host and music director of the most popular TV talk show in Slovakia. He has his own column in one of Slovakia's most influential weekly newspapers and is the author of two best-selling books.   Read the full release here