Igor Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was a very famous and talented composer of the 20th century. Born to musician parents, his father, Fyodor was a bass singer and his mother, Anna, was a very skilled pianist. Not wanting their son to follow in their footsteps, they asked him to go into law after having finished his secondary school. Once he was in the university, Vladimir Rimsky-Korsakov, son of a very renowned composer became his mentor after Stravinsky got an invitation to join him. His father died in the year 1902 and that is when Stravinsky decided that he wanted to have a career in music composition.

In 1909, three years after his marriage, Stravinsky was asked to perform an orchestration of a couple of works by Chopin for ballet Les Sylphides at Ballets Russes. The invitation was sent by Sergei Diaghilev himself, the founder of the famous Ballets Russes. Performing there led to Stravinsky getting a chance to collaborate with Michel Fokine, a renowned choreographer, in the performance of ballet Firebird. After this Stravinsky became a name known in every household. The 1911 production by Stravinsky of Petrouchka and his performance at the Rite of Spring premiere in Paris in 1913 gave a further boost to his already widespread reputation. Even though Stravinsky frequently visited Paris, his real home was always Russia.

However, not long afterwards World War I started and Stravinsky was forced to leave his beloved homeland and move to Switzerland. He often felt homesick during his time there and to deal with that problem he used Russian folklore profusely in the works he produced there. In addition to that an influence of jazz music was also noticed in his works created in Switzerland. He created two of his most famous pieces there, one being Fox and the other being Wedding. The latter however wasn’t completed until after he left for France.

Igor Stravinsky spent nineteen years in France (1920-1939) and while he was there he created more famous works like Oedipus Rex, an opera-oratorio he created in 1927 and Apollo in 1928. During 1930s his creations that came to life include The Symphony of Psalms, The Violin Concerto, Concerto for Two Pianos, A Game of Cards and Concerto for Chamber Orchestra.

In 1939 Catherine, Stravinsky’s first wife passed away. He moved the same year to the United States and after one year got married to Vera de Bossett, a well-known painter. It was in the same year, 1940, that the most significant symphonic work of Stravinsky’s life, t, got completed.

In the year 1941, Stravinsky was performing in Boston and during the performance he rearranged the wording in the national anthem. This got him arrested and caused a setback in his reputation. But despite this incident, his career remained successful and he spent a high profile life. Eventually his works also started to make their mark in Hollywood as he created several soundtracks for different movies at that time.

Eventually he grew weaker and his health started to decline and on 6th of April 1971 he passed away in his apartment in Manhattan, New York. Igor Stravinsky composed more than one hundred pieces during his career and these included operas, ballets, concertos, sonatas and symphonies. Having influenced such a vast area of music during his life by creating numerable works of art, Stravinsky made sure that his name be remembered in golden words in the history of music.


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