Igor Stravinsky


Born: June 17th, 1882 in Oranienbaum, Germany
Died: April 6th, 1971 (at age 89) in New York City, NY
Nationality: Russian
Fields: conductor, pianist, composer
Famous For: Writing over 100 works including “The Flood,” “The Firebird” and “Istrumental Soloist.”
Awards: Leonie Sonning Music Prize, 4 Grammy Awards

Igor Stravinsky was born on June 17th, 1882, in Oranienbaum, Russia. He spent most of his childhood in Saint Petersburg with his mother and father. During his time in school, Stravinsky did not have many friends and he turned to music, which he had an interest in. He took piano lessons, watched ballets and practiced playing as often as he could. By the time he reached 15 years old he was an expert at playing the piano.

Because his parents wanted him to study law, Stravinsky attended the University of Saint Petersburg for college. He ended up only going to a small portion of his actual classes, as he was more interested in music during this time. In 1902 Stravinsky met Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, who was a famous Russian composer in Heidelberg, where Stravinsky had moved.

Igor moved in with Korsakov’s family and lived with them for a while, which is where he started taking more interest in music. After getting a half-course diploma from taking his law exams in 1906, Igor studied music from his now mentor Rimsky-Korsakov. In 1906 Igor ended up marrying his first cousin, Yeketerina Gavrilovna Nosenko. They had two children shortly after their marriage.


“The Firebird” was the orchestral work that brought fame to Stravinsky in 1910. After this, he lived between Russia and Switzerland throughout the year with his family. He continued composing, having created “Petrushka” in 1911 and “Le Sacre du printemps” in 1913. After getting through a brief time of contracting typhoid, Stravinsky spent his time creating “The Nightingale,” which was his first opera.

Stravinsky discovered that the theater he was creating “The Nightingale” for had gone bankrupt. So, they debuted it at the Paris Opera instead. It was well received and led to great reviews from many composers. In 1915 the family moved to Morges, which is where they struggled to get by. This was because Stravinsky was not receiving his royalties from performances. Fortunately Werner Reinhart, a Swiss philanthropist, was able to assist him with his finances to help him get by.

After creating several more works, Stravinsky moved his family to Paris. He was invited to live in Coco Chanel’s mansion and Chanel guaranteed his next production with 300,000 francs. During his time in Paris he developed a business connection with the French company Pleyel, which manufactured pianos.

In 1921 he had an affair with Vera de Bosset and she left her husband to be with him. This led to Stravinsky living a double life, up until his wife passed away in 1939. After moving to the south of France, he continued to work on symphonies until 1939, which is when he sailed to the United States. Soon after this he married Vera and then purchased a home in West Hollywood, California.


Although adapting to life in the United States was difficult, he ended up creating many musical masterpieces until his death in 1971. He passed soon after moving to New York due to heart failure. His grave is something people today can see in San Michele Island, Venice and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in California.