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Igor Stravinsky

(1882 - 1971)

Stravinsky was born in Oranienbaum, Russia on June 17, 1882 and brought up in Saint Petersburg. His parents expected him to become a lawyer.

Stravinsky enrolled to study law at the University of St. Petersburg in 1901, but was ill-suited for it, attending fewer than fifty class sessions in four years.

He was afterward able to concentrate all his efforts on music.

On the advice of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, he decided not to enter the St. Petersburg Conservatoire. Instead, in 1905, he began to take twice-weekly private tutelage from Rimsky-Korsakov, who became a second father to him.

He moved to Switzerland, where he remained until 1920, moving between Clarens and Lausanne. He moved to France in 1920. During this period he worked with the French piano manufacturer Pleyel to prepare player piano music rolls of his music.

After a short stay near Paris, he then moved with his family to the south of France until 1934, when he returned to Paris to take up residence at the rue Faubourg St.-Honore.

Stravinsky continued to live in the United States from 1939 until his death in 1971; he became a naturalized citizen in 1945.

In the last few years of his life, Stravinsky lived at Essex House in New York City.

He died on April 6th 1971 at the age of 88 in New York City and was buried in Venice on the cemetery island of San Michele.

His grave is close to the tomb of his long-time collaborator Diaghilev.

Stravinsky's life had encompassed most of the 20th century, including many of its modern classical music styles, and he influenced composers both during and after his lifetime.

He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6340 Hollywood Boulevard and posthumously received the Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1987.


Stravinsky made an immediate impression in Paris with his score for L'oiseau de Feu (The Firebird), for the Ballets Russes of Dyagilev.

There followed the very Russian Petrushka, set in a Russian fair-ground, and the Succes de Scandale of Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring).

After works on a smaller scale in war-time, Stravinsky turned again to ballet for Dyagilev in Pulcinella, based on music wrongly attributed to Pergolesi.

Later ballets include Apollon musagete, Le Baiser de la Fee, Jeu de Cartes and Agon.

The Latin opera-oratorio, with a text translated from Cocteau, Oedipus Rex was first staged in 1928, while the opera The Rake's Progress, neo-classical in form and based on the engravings of Hogarth, with a libretto by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman, was staged in Venice in 1951.

Stravinsky's orchestral music includes symphonies, suites from some of the ballets, and two suites arranged from sets of easy piano pieces.

Concertos of various kinds include a 1936 Concerto for piano, wind, timpani and double basses, an Ebony Concerto for jazz band and a Violin Concerto Stravinsky's chamber music includes some arrangements of orchestral works, in particular two versions of music from Pulcinella, one for violin and piano and a second for cello and piano, under the title Suite Italienne.



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