Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971)

How to say the name:

‘Stravinsky’ is said like Stra-vin-ski.’Igor’ is said llike ‘Ee-gor ‘.

Born:

17th June 1882 in Oranienbaum (near St Petersburg) in Russia.

Stravinsky’s grave in Venice

Died:

6th April 1971 in New York, New York, USA.

Buried:

The island of San Michele in Venice, Italy.

Type of Music:

Modern classical music.

A famous piece:
  • Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Sping)—a ballet. (See below for some videos of this.)
Some great pieces:
  • L’Oiseau de feu (The Firebird)—a ballet. (See below for a video of Stravinsky himself conducting this.)
  • Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Sping)
  • Petrushka—a ballet.
  • Pulcinella—a ballet.
  • Les Noces (The Wedding)—a ballet.
  • Apollo—a ballet.
  • Oedipus Rex (King Oedipus)—an opera (sort of!).
  • A Rake’s Progress—an opera.
  • Symphony of Psalms.
  • Symphony in C.
  • Plus many more pieces!
Some interesting facts:
  • He was one of the greatest composers of the last century.
  • He wrote the greatest ballets of the last century. These ballets are performed regularly today.
  • The three ballets L’Oiseau de feu (The Firebird), Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Sping) and Petrushka were first staged by Sergei Diaghilev. These performances have become legendary (the stuff of legends)!
  • He was one of the main composers to create the modern period of classical music.
  • His Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Sping) was one of the first pieces of modern classical music. This ballet cause a riot when it was first heard because the music was so wild. The audience even started fighting and the police had to come and sort it out!!
  • Le Sacre du Printemps was so new because it had rhythms that had never been heard before in classical music (watch the videos below to see what I mean!).
  • He changed his style of composing many times. For example, Pulcinella and ‘A Rake’s Progress’ are very different from Le Sacre du Printemps. And his last works are very different again. In fact, they are like the music of Schoenberg.
  • He left Russia in 1910, and hardly ever went back. He lived in three other countries after this—first Switzerland, then France, and then USA.
  • He was a devout Russian Orthodox.
  • He worked with some of the greatest artists and writers of the last century, such as Pablo Picasso (an artist) and W.H. Auden (a poet).

Here is a video of the beginning of the music for Stravinsky’s ballet Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Sping).

The beginning of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Sping)

As I have said in the box above, this music caused a riot when it was first heard! Can you imagine that? See what you think by watching the end:

The end of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Sping)

And finally, here is a video of Stravinsky himself conducting his ballet L’Oiseau de feu (The Firebird).

Stravinsky himself conducting his ballet L’Oiseau de feu (The Firebird)

Picture credits:
  1. Igor Stravinsky. This photograph is from the George Grantham Bain Collection. It is in the public domain. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
  2. Stravinsky’s grave in Venice. This photograph is in the public domain. Click here for the source of this image, along with the relevant copyright information.
Video credits:
  1. STRAVINSKY : Rite Of Spring – V.Gergiev (1/3). Rite Of Spring (extract) London Symphony Orchestra Leader Andrew Haveron Conductor Valery Gergiev Barbican Centre London 2007.
  2. STRAVINSKY : Rite Of Spring – V.Gergiev (3/3). Rite Of Spring (extract) London Symphony Orchestra Leader Andrew Haveron Conductor Valery Gergiev Barbican Centre London 2007.
  3. Stravinsky Conducts Firebird. One of those rare videos where the great Stravinsky conducts his own Firebird ..the Lullaby suite at the age of 82.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Mozart jr 8th February 2016

Wow! That caused a riot?!

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