The Kennedy Center

Igor Stravinsky


A Russian-American composer, born in 1882, Igor Stravinsky was worldly known as the greatest composer of the 20th century. His contributions to music were wide and varied. He studied music with Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov from 1903 to 1906. He got famous on his performances, while commissioned with the impresario, Sergey Diaghilev. In 1939 he moved to United States of America and became a US citizen in 1945.

Stravinsky’s ballet score, The Firebird (1910) was a huge success in Paris Opera, followed by Petrushka, performed during the Ballets Russes (1911) in Paris. Another outstanding work is The Rite of Spring which was a dynamic masterpiece. He worked on various pieces of ballet music, including piano piece by Frédéric Chopin for Les Sylphides. The Nightingale and The Soldier's Tale (1918) were some of his compositions while on exile in Switzerland during the War. In France, he diverted to neoclassical style and composed Oedipus Rex (1927) and the Symphony of Psalms (1930). His renewed tie with Diaghilev, resulted to his arrangement of Pulcinella (1920) and Apollo Musagetes (1928). From 1923-1935, he composed piano and wind instruments pieces.

The Rake's Progress (1948-51), Canticum Sacrum (1955) and the ballet Agon (1953-57) were larger scale works, where music moves from a modal and tonal beginning into a full serial score. After his work on Requiem Canticles (1966), a work as famous as his masterpieces and neo-classicals, his health failed. He died in 1971 and was buried in Venice.
Igor Stravinsky


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