Chandos Records

My Wish List

Close

Igor Stravinsky

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ( 17 June 1882 – 6 April 1971) was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. He is widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of the 20th century.

Stravinsky's compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. He first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Serge Diaghilev and first performed in Paris by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911), and The Rite of Spring (1913). The latter transformed the way in which subsequent composers thought about rhythmic structure and was largely responsible for Stravinsky's enduring reputation as a musical revolutionary who pushed the boundaries of musical design. His "Russian phase" which continued with works such as Renard, the Soldier's Tale and Les Noces, was followed in the 1920s by a period in which he turned to neoclassicism. The works from this period tended to make use of traditional musical forms (concerto grosso, fugue and symphony), drawing on earlier styles, especially from the 18th century. In the 1950s, Stravinsky adopted serial procedures. His compositions of this period shared traits with examples of his earlier output: rhythmic energy, the construction of extended melodic ideas out of a few two- or three-note cells and clarity of form, and of instrumentation.

In October 1969, after close to three decades in California and being denied to travel overseas by his doctors due to ill health, Stravinsky and Vera secured a two-year lease for a luxury three bedroom apartment in Essex House in New York City. Craft moved in with them, effectively putting his career on hold to care for the ailing composer. Among Stravinsky's final projects was orchestrating two preludes from The Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach, but it was never completed. He was hospitalised in April 1970 following a bout of pneumonia, which he successfully recovered from. Two months later, he travelled to Évian-les-Bains by Lake Geneva where he reunited with his eldest son Theodore and niece Xenia.

On 18 March 1971, Stravinsky was taken to Lenox Hill Hospital with pulmonary edema where he stayed for ten days. On 29 March, he moved into a newly furbished apartment at 920 Fifth Avenue, his first city apartment since living in Paris in 1939. After a period of well being, the edema returned on 4 April and Vera insisted that medical equipment should be installed in the apartment. Stravinsky soon stopped eating and drinking and died at 5:20 a.m. on 6 April at the age of 88. The cause on his death certificate is heart failure. A funeral service was held three days later at Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel. As per his wishes, he was buried in the Russian corner of the cemetery island of San Michele in northern Italy, several yards from the tomb of Sergei Diaghilev.

 



Back to Top
Chandos Records
Chandos House
1 Commerce Park
Commerce Way
Colchester
Essex
CO2 8HX
United Kingdom