Igor Stravinsky: Biography, Music & Facts

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

Igor Stravinsky first challenged audiences with his The Rite of Spring. Since then, Stravinsky built an impressive career that managed to not only incorporate new techniques of composing, but also that challenged many norms of the day.

Biography

Igor Stravinsky was born into a musical family in St. Petersburg, Russia. Although he originally studied law at the urging of his family, he ultimately returned to music, finding it to be his real passion in life. In the years prior to World War I, Stravinsky studied with masters throughout Europe. Ultimately, he partnered with the Ballets Russes in Paris to create some of his most enduring work before eventually settling in Switzerland in the weeks before the outbreak of war.

Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky

While arguing over royalties from earlier shows with individuals back in Russia, Stravinsky struggled financially, much of which he blamed on the head of the Ballets Russes (and his former business partner), Sergei Diaghilev. His reputation came to his aid, however, as famous designer Coco Chanel allowed the composer to stay at one of her properties until he was self sufficient.

Following the death of his wife, Stravinsky accepted a post at Harvard, moving to the United States as war again engulfed Europe. Upon arrival, he married his mistress, Vera de Bosset Sudeikin, and began inserting himself in the American music scene. Due to his reputation, this was not difficult. Eventually, he moved to Hollywood to write shorter pieces, as well as write his only opera. While in the United States he continued his musical career, ultimately visiting the Soviet Union in 1962 to see his homeland one last time before dying in 1971.

Vera de Bosset Sudeikin
Stravinskys Mistress

Music

As one of the most influential composers of the past 100 years, it is little surprise that Stravinsky left an impressive body of work.

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