Born June 17, 1882 in Oranienbaum, Russia
Died April 6, 1971 in New York, New York
Firebird Suite, Pertrushka, The Rite of Spring
In his long life, Stravinsky saw tremendous changes — and, in his music, he created great change. Stravinsky’s father, an opera singer, wanted him to become a lawyer, so when he went to college he studied law and music at the same time. The music for the ballet The Firebird made him famous as a composer, and he gave up law. When his piece The Rite of Spring was first played in public, it caused a riot — the audience made so much noise arguing about the music that the orchestra was drowned out!
In 1925 Stravinsky first visited the United States. He finally moved here in 1939 and later became an American citizen. He continued to write music, including a polka for the Ringling Brothers Circus elephants to dance to and an arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner — which no one liked! Because he created music that was different from anything that had been heard before, many people believe his music will be remembered hundreds of years from now.