91 Facts About Igor Stravinsky


Igor Stravinsky is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century and a pivotal figure in modernist music for his approach to rhythm.


Additionally, Igor Stravinsky used sacred themes in works like Threni and The Flood.


Igor Stravinsky's students included Robert Strassburg in the 1940s and Robert Craft and Warren Zevon in the 1960s.


Igor Stravinsky was a devout member of the Russian Orthodox Church for most of his life, believing that his musical talent was a gift from God.


Igor Stravinsky was one of the most important composers of the 20th century.


Additionally, Igor Stravinsky received five Grammy Awards and eleven total nominations, and in 1987, he was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.


Igor Stravinsky's father, Fyodor Ignatievich Stravinsky, was an established bass opera singer in the Kiev Opera and the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg and his mother, Anna Kirillovna Stravinskaya, a native of Kiev, was one of four daughters of a high-ranking official in the Kiev Ministry of Estates.


Igor Stravinsky was the third of their four sons; his brothers were Roman, Yury, and Gury.


The Igor Stravinsky family was of Polish and Russian heritage, descended "from a long line of Polish grandees, senators and landowners".


The original family surname was Sulima-Strawinski; the name "Igor Stravinsky" originated from the word "Strava", one of the variants of the Streva river in Lithuania.


On 10 August 1882, Igor Stravinsky was baptised at Nikolsky Cathedral in Saint Petersburg.


Igor Stravinsky took to music at an early age and began regular piano lessons at age nine, followed by tuition in music theory and composition.


In 1902, Igor Stravinsky met Vladimir, a fellow student at the University of Saint Petersburg and the youngest son of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.


Igor Stravinsky wished to meet him to discuss his musical aspirations.


Igor Stravinsky spent the summer of 1902 with Rimsky-Korsakov and his family in Heidelberg, Germany.


Igor Stravinsky completed his first composition during this time, the Symphony in E-flat, catalogued as Opus 1.


Igor Stravinsky commissioned Stravinsky to write some orchestrations for the 1909 ballet season, which were finished by April of that year.


Diaghilev then asked the 28-year-old Igor Stravinsky, who had provided satisfactory orchestrations for him for the previous season at short notice and agreed to compose a full score.


The Firebird premiered at the Opera de Paris on 25 June 1910 to widespread critical acclaim and Igor Stravinsky became an overnight sensation.


Igor Stravinsky's score contained many novel features for its time, including experiments in tonality, metre, rhythm, stress and dissonance.


Shortly after the premiere, Igor Stravinsky contracted typhoid from eating bad oysters and he was confined to a Paris nursing home.


Igor Stravinsky left in July 1913 and returned to Ustilug.


Igor Stravinsky took up residence nearby, where he completed The Nightingale.


Igor Stravinsky was ineligible for military service in the World War due to his history of typhoid.


Igor Stravinsky managed a short visit to Ustilug to retrieve personal items just before borders were closed.


In December 1915, Igor Stravinsky made his conducting debut at two concerts in aid of the Red Cross with The Firebird.


When Russia did not adhere to the Berne Convention and the aftermath of World War I left countries in ruin, royalties for performances of Igor Stravinsky's pieces stopped coming.


Igor Stravinsky, seeking financial assistance, approached the Swiss philanthropist Werner Reinhart, who agreed to sponsor him and largely underwrite the first performance of L'Histoire du soldat in September 1918.


In gratitude, Igor Stravinsky dedicated the work to Reinhart and gave him the original manuscript.


In gratitude to his benefactor, Igor Stravinsky dedicated his Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet to Reinhart, who was an amateur clarinettist.


Igor Stravinsky travelled to Paris to attend the premiere of Pulcinella by the Ballets Russes on 15 May 1920, returning to Switzerland afterwards.


In 1920, Igor Stravinsky signed a contract with the French piano manufacturing company Pleyel.


Igor Stravinsky helped collect Stravinsky's mechanical royalties for his works and provided him with a monthly income.


Igor Stravinsky met Vera de Bosset in Paris in February 1921, while she was married to the painter and stage designer Serge Sudeikin, and they began an affair that led to de Bosset leaving her husband in the Spring of 1922.


Craft believed that the patron was the famed conductor Leopold Stokowski, whom Igor Stravinsky had recently met, and theorised that the conductor wanted to win Igor Stravinsky over to visit the US.


In September 1924, Igor Stravinsky bought a new home in Nice.


Igor Stravinsky thought of his future, and used the experience of conducting the premiere of his Octet at one of Serge Koussevitzky's concerts the year before to build on his career as a conductor.


Koussevitzky asked Igor Stravinsky to compose a new piece for one of his upcoming concerts; Igor Stravinsky agreed to a piano concerto.


The piece was a success, and Igor Stravinsky secured himself the exclusive rights to perform the work for the next five years.


Igor Stravinsky gave the money to Diaghilev to help finance the public performances.


Igor Stravinsky himself spent five months in hospital at Sancellemoz, during which time his mother died.


Igor Stravinsky arrived in New York City on 30 September 1939 and headed for Cambridge, Massachusetts, to fulfil his engagements at Harvard.


Igor Stravinsky felt the warmer Californian climate would benefit his health.


Igor Stravinsky had adapted to life in France, but moving to America at the age of 58 was a very different prospect.


Igor Stravinsky was drawn to the growing cultural life of Los Angeles, especially during World War II, when writers, musicians, composers, and conductors settled in the area.


In 1940, Igor Stravinsky completed his Symphony in C and conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at its premiere later that year.


Orson Welles urged Igor Stravinsky to write the score for Jane Eyre, but negotiations broke down; a piece used in one of the film's hunting scenes was used in Igor Stravinsky's orchestral work Ode.


An offer to score The Song of Bernadette fell through; Igor Stravinsky considered the terms were too much in the producer's favour.


In late 1945, Igor Stravinsky received a commission from Europe, his first since Persephone, in the form of a string piece for the 20th anniversary for Paul Sacher's Basle Chamber Orchestra.


In January 1946, Igor Stravinsky conducted the premiere of his Symphony in Three Movements at Carnegie Hall in New York City.


In 1947, Igor Stravinsky was inspired to write his English-language opera The Rake's Progress by a visit to a Chicago exhibition of the same-titled series of paintings by the eighteenth-century British artist William Hogarth, which tells the story of a fashionable wastrel descending into ruin.


In 1953, Igor Stravinsky agreed to compose a new opera with a libretto by Dylan Thomas, which detailed the recreation of the world after one man and one woman remained on Earth after a nuclear disaster.


Igor Stravinsky completed In Memoriam Dylan Thomas, a piece for tenor, string quartet, and four trombones, in 1954.


In January 1962, during his tour's stop in Washington, DC, Stravinsky attended a dinner at the White House with President John F Kennedy in honour of his eightieth birthday, where he received a special medal for "the recognition his music has achieved throughout the world".


In September 1962, Igor Stravinsky returned to Russia for the first time since 1914, accepting an invitation from the Union of Soviet Composers to conduct six performances in Moscow and Leningrad.


Igor Stravinsky did not return to his Hollywood home until December 1962 in what was almost eight months of continual travelling.


In 1965, Igor Stravinsky agreed to have David Oppenheim produce a documentary film about himself for the CBS network.


The documentary includes Igor Stravinsky's visit to Les Tilleuls, the house in Clarens where he wrote the majority of The Rite of Spring.


The crew asked Soviet authorities for permission to film Igor Stravinsky returning to his hometown of Ustilug, but the request was denied.


In 1966, Igor Stravinsky completed his last major work, the Requiem Canticles.


In May 1968, Igor Stravinsky completed the piano arrangement of two songs by Hugo Wolf for a small orchestra.


In October 1969, after close to three decades in California and Igor Stravinsky being denied to travel overseas by his doctors due to ill health, Igor Stravinsky and de Bosset secured a two-year lease for a luxury three bedroom apartment in Essex House in New York City.


On 18 March 1971, Igor Stravinsky was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital with pulmonary edema where he stayed for ten days.


The Firebird used a harmonic structure that Igor Stravinsky called "leit-harmony", a portmanteau of leitmotif and harmony used by Rimsky-Korsakov in his opera The Golden Cockerel.


Igor Stravinsky later wrote how he composed The Firebird in a state of "revolt against Rimsky", and that he "tried to surpass him with ponticello, col legno, flautando, glissando, and fluttertongue effects".


Igor Stravinsky used a folk tune from Rimsky-Korsakov's opera The Snow Maiden, showing his continued influence on the music of Igor Stravinsky.


Igor Stravinsky had begun to experiment with polytonality in The Firebird and Petrushka, but for The Rite of Spring, he "pushed [it] to its logical conclusion," as White describes it.


Igor Stravinsky had begun work on his first opera The Nightingale in 1908, pausing after he was commissioned to write The Firebird and returning to the work after The Rite of Spring.


Igor Stravinsky was influenced by many artists for this work; the opera itself is based on the same-titled story by Hans Christian Andersen.


Igor Stravinsky used folk poetry; his next opera, Les noces, was based on texts from a collection of Russian folk poetry by Pyotr Kireevsky.


In Naples, Italy, Igor Stravinsky saw a commedia dell'arte featuring the "great drunken lout" of a character Pulcinella, who would later become the subject of his ballet Pulcinella.


Igor Stravinsky's Octet uses the sonata form, modernising it by disregarding the standard ordering of themes and traditional tonal relationships for different sections.


Igor Stravinsky first experimented with non-twelve-tone serial techniques in vocal and chamber works such as the Cantata, the Septet and Three Songs from Shakespeare.


Igor Stravinsky returned to sacred themes in works such as Canticum Sacrum, Threni, A Sermon, a Narrative and a Prayer, and The Flood.


Igor Stravinsky used a number of concepts from earlier works in his serial pieces; for example, the voice of God being two bass voices in homophony seen in The Flood was previously used in Les noces.


Igor Stravinsky was heavily influenced by Schoenberg, not only in his use of the twelve-tone technique, but in the distinctly "Schoenbergian" instrumentation of the Septet and the "Stravinskian interpretation of Schoenberg's Klangfarbenmelodie" found in Igor Stravinsky's Variations.


Igor Stravinsky displayed a taste in literature that was wide and reflected his constant desire for new discoveries.


Igor Stravinsky had an inexhaustible desire to explore and learn about art, which manifested itself in several of his Paris collaborations.


Igor Stravinsky was a devout member of the Russian Orthodox Church during most of his life and believed that his musical talent was a gift from God, stating in an interview with Craft that,.


Igor Stravinsky rejoined the Russian Orthodox Church and afterwards remained a committed Christian.


Craft noted that Igor Stravinsky prayed daily, before and after composing, and prayed when facing difficulty.


Igor Stravinsky was reputed to have been a philanderer and was rumoured to have had affairs with high-profile partners, such as Coco Chanel.


Igor Stravinsky was not only recognised for his composing, he achieved fame as a pianist and as a conductor.


Igor Stravinsky was noted for his distinctive use of rhythm, especially in The Rite of Spring.


Igor Stravinsky's creation of unique and idiosyncratic ensembles arising from the specific musical nature of individual works is a basic element of his style.


Igor Stravinsky received the Royal Philharmonic Society's gold medal in 1954, the Leonie Sonning Music Prize in 1959, and the Wihuri Sibelius Prize in 1963.


On 25 July 1966, Igor Stravinsky was awarded the Portuguese Military Order of Saint James of the Sword.


Igor Stravinsky received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 and was posthumously inducted into the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame in 2004.


Igor Stravinsky found recordings a practical and useful tool in preserving his thoughts on the interpretation of his music.


Igor Stravinsky published a number of books throughout his career, almost always with the aid of a collaborator.


In 1959, several interviews between the composer and Craft were published as Conversations with Igor Stravinsky, which was followed by a further five volumes over the following decade.