17 June 1882 - 6 April 1971 (Age 88)

Stravinsky was a Russian composer, pianist and conductor. He became an American citizen in 1946. He was one of the most influential composers of the 20th century.



A brief biography



portrait of Stravinsky


Born: 17 June 1882, Oranienbaum, nr St Petersburg, Russia
Father: Fedor Stravinsky, a leading Russian opera singer
Mother: Anna (Kholodovsky) Stravinsky
Siblings: one of four children
1st Wife: cousin Katerina Nossenko in 1906. died 1939 TB
2nd wife: Vera de Bossett, 1940.
Children: Theodore, Ludmila, Svyatoslav, Sulema, Milena, Nicholas, and Katherine
Died: 6 April 1971, New York
Grave: cemetary island of San Michele, Venice. His grave is next to that of Diaghilev. see findagrave


* The Firebird
* Petrushka
* The Rite of Spring
* Pulcinella
* Apollon musagéte
* Le baiser de la fée
* Jeu de Cartes
* Orpheus
* Agon
* The Soldier's Tale, for chamber ensemble, dancers, speaker
* Symphony in E-flat Major, Opus 1,
* Symphony of Psalms
* Symphonies of Wind Instruments
* Symphony in C
* Symphony in Three Movements
* Octet for Wind Instruments
* Oratorio - Oedipus Rex
* Violin concerto
* Concerto, 'Dumbarton Oaks'
* Ebony Concerto
* Mavra (an opera)
* Opera, The Rake's Progress
* Les Noces (The Wedding), for voices, percussion and 4 pianos
* Threni, for soloists, chorus and orchestra
* Requiem Canticles, for voices and orchestra
* Melodrama, Perséphone
* Stravinsky, Igor, Stravinsky: An Autobiography, Simon & Schuster
* Stravinsky, Igor, Poetics of Muse, Harvard University Press

Stravinsky conducts Firebird

Symphonies Of Wind Instruments
conductor Pierre Boulez

A brief biography

- Age 9: began piano lessons. He also showed a keen interest in opera - he often attended performances at the Kiev Opera where his father was a singer.
- Age 18: Began studying law and philosophy at St Petersburg University. A fellow student of his was the son of Rimsky-Korsakov, Vladimir.
- Age 20 - 26: received private tuition from Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, his friend's father.
- Age 24 : married his first cousin Catherine Nossenko, and had their first two children in the next two years.
- Age 27: The impresario Diaghilev attended a performance of his Fireworks and Scherzo Fantastique and as a result commissioned a ballet. The result was The Firebird, based on Russian folk tales and music.
- Age 28 - 32: Following the successful premiere of The Firebird in Paris, he moved his family there for the next three years to work with Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. During this period he wrote Petrushka and The Rite of Spring.
- Age 32: With the onset of the First World War in 1914 and health problems including nicotine poisoning and cholera, they moved to Switzerland.
- Age 38 - 57: 1920 Moved back to France. Became a French citizen in 1936.
- Age 57: 1939 His mother, his wife and his eldest daughter all died of tuberculosis, causing him understandable deep distress. He moved to the USA. Lectured at Harvard University.
- Age 58: Married his old friend Vera de Bosset and moved to Hollywood, California.
- Age 63: 1945 Became an American citizen.
- Age 86: Moved to Essex House, New York where he stayed until he died in 1971 aged 88.

Favorite Composers in Art - Stravinsky
A fascinating collection of images - art, portraits, caricatures, cartoons, album covers and postage stamps.

Rite of Spring - Sacrificial Dance

Petrushka Scene I - The Shrovetide Fair
Bolshoi Ballet


- "A good composer does not imitate; he steals."

- "Conductors' careers are made for the most part with 'Romantic' music. 'Classic' music eliminates the conductor; we do not remember him in it."

- "A plague on eminence! I hardly dare cross the street anymore without a convoy, and I am stared at wherever I go like an idiot member of a royal family or an animal in a zoo; and zoo animals have been known to die from stares."

- "Harpists spend 90 percent of their lives tuning their harps and 10 percent playing out of tune."

- "I liked the opera very much. Everything but the music."
Benjamin Britten on Stravinsky's The Rakes's Progress

"His music used to be original. Now it's aboriginal."
Sir Ernest Newman on Igor Stravinsky

"The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music; they should be taught to love it instead."

"Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end."

Links - and where to get more information 

Russian Composers: more profiles here at


New York Times

Classical Net

Essentials of Music

Chester Novello


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In 1998 Time magazine named Stravinsky as one of the top 100 most influential people of the 20th century.

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