The downtown Left Bank Books will welcome Belfast children’s book author and illustrator Stephen Costanza to its third Winter Lyceum talk Sunday, March 11 at 3:30 p.m. Costanza has published several fine children’s books to date but his most recent work, “Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra,” reveals an intriguing part of musical history.

Antonio Vivaldi is famous for his musical compositions, but who has heard of the “invisible orchestra” composed of young female orphans who performed many of his works in Venice? These young women, dressed in simple robes, played discreetly from behind a curtain or screen, yet their fame spread throughout Europe. This fascinating children’s picture book teaches a new lesson about Vivaldi and his culture, beautifully portrayed in the luminous paintings done in Costanza’s lush and detailed style.

Costanza studied music theory and composition at Syracuse University and then attended the Philadelphia College of Art. Before becoming a successful children’s book author/illustrator, he played piano professionally in a ragtime/classical music ensemble, performing alongside a violinist. He describes Vivaldi’s genius as stemming from his ability to daydream in music, but the book’s focus is on young orphan girl Candida who is asked to transcribe his compositions for the individual orchestra members. Her own poetic daydreams while transcribing become inadvertent lines of poetry on the pages amidst the musical notes. This poetry is said to inspire Vivaldi as he composed his most famous work, “The Four Seasons.”

Costanza will describe the creative process of writing and illustrating his story, as well as preview his next book, due in December, about a young man learning how to illuminate sacred manuscripts. Previous book credits include “Noodle Man — the Pasta Superhero,” “Mozart Finds a Melody”; and the illustrations for “Ten Big Toes and a Prince’s Nose” and “Christmas Spider’s Miracle.” Costanza is a frequent visitor to local schools, sharing his love of music and art with students of all ages.

Copies of “Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra” will be available for purchase, and the author will be happy to sign books after his talk. The public is warmly invited and refreshments will be served, but space is limited; call 548-6400 to reserve a book, a seat or for more information. Left Bank Books is open every day at 21 East Main St./Route 1.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to