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Igor Stravinsky
b.1882 — d.1971
 
Biography

Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky is widely considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century. Noted for his stylistic diversity, Stravinsky is known for his revolutionary rhythmic styling and orchestration while paying tribute to masters such as J.S. Bach and Tchaikowsky. Born in Russia and a naturalized citizen of France and the United States, he wrote two operas after emigrating to America.

A complex and dark man, Stravinsky wrote of his childhood in his autobiography, “I never came across anyone who had any real affection for me.” Studying piano and composition from an early age he had his first taste of the orchestra at the age of eight when he saw Tchaikowsky’s ballet The Sleeping Beauty at the Mariinsky Theatre. Though his father was a bass singer he encouraged the young Igor to study law instead of music, a fate from which he was spared with the timely arrival of Bloody Sunday and his university’s consequent closure. Instead of entering the Petersburg Conservatoire he began twice weekly composition lessons with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. He traveled the world to collaborate with many esteemed artists in varied fields, settling in Switzerland, France, and Los Angeles.

Though most commonly recognized for his ballets, Stravinsky possessed a passionate curiosity for all types of music, art, and literature. Successful throughout his career and in equal measures known for his pendulous pride and modesty, Stravinsky wrote in similarly polar genres incorporating Russian folk songs, neoclassicalism, and twelve-tone techniques. He moved to New York City in 1969 where he died at the age of 88. He was buried in Venice.
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