The revolutionary early music of Igor Stravinsky.

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    Early life

  • Birth in Orienenbaum, Russia

    Birth in Orienenbaum, Russia
    Igor Stravinsky was born at Oranienbaum, on the Gulf of Finland, about 30 miles from St. Petersburg, Russia. His father, a leading operatic bass, had rented a dacha there for his family. As a young child, Igor was tutored in music by his father and other family members. Russian Romantic music by Tchaikovsky, among others, was dominant at the time.
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    Igor Stavinsku was born in Finland (then part of Russia) on June 5, 1882. He died on April 6, 1971 in New York.
  • Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" ballet is premiered

    Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" ballet is premiered
    Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" ballet, and "Swan Lake" (1876) compositions are Romantic works emblematic of Russian orchestral music being written before Igor Stravinsky's mature musical works were performed.
  • He begins law studies and also music theory at university.

    He begins law studies and also music theory at university.
    Stravinsky studied law at St. Petersburg University, and had private lessons in music theory and composition. Within a few years he would begin studying music with the well-known composer and conductor, Rimsky-Korsakov. Stravinsky's early musical compositions were not radical--yet.
  • Begins regular study with Rimsky-Korsakov.

    Begins regular study with Rimsky-Korsakov.
    Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov was well known for precise orchestral arrangements of his own works, and undoubtedly Stravinsky absorbed the craftsmanship of orchestration by working so closely with such an accomplished musician. Through Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky became acquainted with Serge Diaghilev and the Russian Ballet ("Ballet Russe").
  • Composed "Scherzo Fantastique," Fireworks," and other works.

    Composed "Scherzo Fantastique," Fireworks," and other works. In 1908 his mentor, Rimsky-Korsakov, died. Stravinsky begins to share his compositions more publicly. He orchestrates music by Frederic Chopin which was used in balletic productions in Paris by the well-known dancer, Diaghilev. (The painting, left, was created by Giacomo Balla in 1915, as a sketch for a production of "Fireworks."). The YouTube link included here is for a performance of "Scherzo Fantastique," and hints at IS's' musical experimentation
  • Ballet Russes premiere of Stravinsky's "The Firebird" in Paris

    Ballet Russes premiere of  Stravinsky's "The Firebird" in Paris .In Paris, Stravinsky met Debussy, Ravel, and other composers of lushly orchestrated romantic chamber and orchestral music. Parts of Stravinsky's "The Firebird," can be placed musically within this genre, but that was to change.
  • Paris premiere of "Petrushka."

    Paris premiere of "Petrushka." "Petrushka," a "burlesque in four scenes," is an orchestral work that presaged a new style in Stravinsky's musical oeuvre. The variety of chords, tonal contrasted with atonality, was a premonition of even more radical changes to come.
  • Riot at Parisian performance of "The Rite of Spring."

    Riot at Parisian performance of "The Rite of Spring."
    "The Rite of Spring," marked a radical departure from all previous musical history. Its unfamiliar dissonances, polyrhythms, and intensity offended its first audience, who, famously rioted upon hearing it for the first time. See video excerpt at See also "History's Wildest Ballet Riot" article at: This piece changed the Western musical world forever.
  • "L'Histoire Du Soldat"

    "L'Histoire Du Soldat" L'Histoire Du Soldat," a chamber piece, was written during World War I, a time of financial hardship, during which Stravinsky was also cut off from Russia by the Bolshevik Revolution. "L'Histoire" was orchestrated for three speakers, seven instrumentalists, and one dancer, a fairly thin group--so that it could be performed by a minimal number of people, even during the hardship of war and a major influenza epidemic.
  • "Les Noces" premiere

    "Les Noces" premiere'
    "Les Noces" (the wedding) is yet another illustration of the radicality of rhythm and atonality that shaped the remainder of Stravisky's composing life. He might be said to have fundamentally changed the way we hear music.
  • Death

    Stavinsky died in New York on April 6, 1971. After a funeral service there his body was transported to Venice, and buried there on the island of San Michele.