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‘These girls are educated at the expense of the state to distinguish themselves in music. They sing like angels and play violin, flute, harpsichord, organ, oboe, cello and bas-soon; in short, no instrument can deter them, however big it may be.’ That is what French humanist and historian Charles de Brosses wrote in1739 about the girls who received their schooling in the Venetian orphanages which he visited. In one of these institutions, the Os-pedale della Pietà, Antonio Vivaldi worked as ‘maestro di violino’ and ‘maestro di concerti’ from 1703 to 1709, 1711 to 1717, 1723 to 1729 and 1735 to 1740. One of his tasks was ‘to pro-vide concertos for our girls and compositions for all types of instrument’.