Composer of the Week: Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky was born near Saint Petersburg, Russia in 1882. He became one of the most influential composers of the 20th Century. His rise marks the beginning of the Modern Period of music, where complex and unusual harmonies, rhythms and even instruments may be used. Stravinsky’s parents wanted him to be a lawyer, but he only attended 50 class sessions in four years of school!
Stravinsky began studying with the famous Russian composer,Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. He was encouraged to take private lesson before enrolling at the music conservatory (a college of music). By the early 1900’s, Stravinsky was composing such well-known pieces as The Firebird, Pestrushka and The Rite of Spring. In this last piece (actually a ballet), Stravinsky’s unusual music coupled with a controversial plot caused an actual riot in the audience at the premier. This only enhanced Stravinsky’s reputation as a revolutionary composer.
Stravinsky lived in Russia, Switzerland, France and eventually, The United States. After World War II broke out in 1939, he moved to the U.S., and eventually settled in Los Angeles, CA. While here, his music became more traditional sounding (“neo-classical”) and included, Symphony in C, as well as Symphony in Three Movements. In the 1950’s, Stravinsky returned to modern techniques such as serial music and tone rows (music based on math and series of numbers). Stravinsky died in 1971 and is now considered one of the most important composers of all-time.Map of St. Petersburg, RussiaMusic History (Periods of Music)The Music of Igor Stravinsky