Stravinsky Igor 1882 - 1971 (89)

I haven't understood a single piece of music in my life, but I have felt it.


Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was a Russian composer, the main representative of the pioneering music in the 20th century. He was born in Oranienbaum (now Lomonosov) on June 17, 1882, to noble parents who had both been involved in music (his father was a tenor, his mother a pianist). In 1905 he finished law studies but had no interest, he never worked with law. His musical education began at the age of 9, his main teacher was the famous composer Korsakov. From the age of 10 he improvised on the piano and had decided to become a composer. In 1906 he married a cousin while in 1908 he mailed to his teacher the score of the orchestral piece "Fireworks", which was returned after the teacher had died. Stravinsky's music after the death of his teacher took a new course, turning to the French Impressionists, such as Debussy and Ravel.

He left Russia and settled in Paris, both for business reasons and because his wife had tuberculosis and they were looking for a better climate. In 1913 he completed one of his most important works, the "Rite of Spring", its premiere in Paris caused a great scandal, both because of the pioneering music and the theme and choreography. The subtitle of the play is "Images from a pagan Russia" and represents a ceremony that ends with the sacrifice of a girl.

In 1914, with the outbreak of World War I, he moved to neutral Switzerland where he remained until 1920. After the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, Stalin and his successors banned his works and he no longer dared to return to Russia as he was descendant of aristocrats. He made a trip in 1922 to take his mother out of the country and returned to his homeland only after 40 years, in 1962, when the ban on his works had ended and his 80th birthday was celebrated. Until 1939, Igor lived in various cities in France where, due to financial difficulties, in addition to composing, he worked as an orchestra conductor and pianist.

With the outbreak of World War II he left France and went to America where he married his longtime mistress Vera de Bosset. Igor, among other things, gave a series of lectures at Harvard which were published in a book while in 1945 he and his wife moved to Hollywood and acquired American citizenship. In Hollywood, mainly for financial reasons, he created music for film productions, as well as several pieces commissioned by both institutions and individuals. He lived until the end of his life in America but often traveled to Europe where he toured as an orchestra conductor. In 1969 he moved with his wife to New York where he died on April 6, 1971. At his request, he was buried on the island of San Michele in Venice.