Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was born on June 17th, 1882 in Oranienbaum, Russia. He was one of four to his polish parents, Anna née Kholodovsky and Fyodor Stravinsky. Igor Stravinsky’s first exposer to music was from his father, who was a bass singer at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. His father helped him learn the love of music. His first musical education began at the age of nine with piano lessons, studying music theory, and attempting composition. By fifteen, he had mastered Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto in G Minor and finished a piano reduction of a string quartet by Glazunov. That same year, Stravinsky rebelled against the Russian Orthodox Church and abandoned it. Even though he excelled in music, his parents still wanted him to become a lawyer. In 1901, Stravinsky enrolls at the University of Saint Petersburg; however he never attends many of his classes during the four years of school. When it came time to take final examinations in 1905, the school was closed for two months because of Bloody Sunday. He then later received a half course diploma in April 1906.
In 1902, Stravinsky began receiving private lessons from Nikolai Rimsky- Korsakov, the leading Russian composer at that time. That very same year Stravinsky’s father dies from cancer. In 1905 Igor Stravinsky proposes to his first cousin Catherin Nossenko. Even though the Orthodox Church opposes marriage of first cousins, they got married on January 23rd, 1906. The same of his marriage, Stravinsky’s creates first important composition Symphony in E Flat. The following year they have their first child Theodore and then the next year they have their second child Ludmila. The same year as Ludmila’s birth, Rimsky, Stravinsky’s father like figure, dies. In 1909, Stravinsky’s compositions, Scherzo fatastique and Feu d’artifice (Fireworks) where performed at a concert in St. Petersburg. In that very audience Serge Diaghilev, founder of the Ballets Russes, was extremely impressed.
He was so impressed that he chooses Stravinsky to carry out orchestrations and to compose a full length ballet, The Firebird. In 1910 Stravinsky travels Paris for the premier of The Firebird. At this performance he meets Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and many other important musicians. Towards the end of the ballet season, his family moves to Switzerland with him and, Catherine expecting her third child. In Lausanne, Switzerland in September 1910, Sviatoslav Soulima their third son was born. In 1911, Stravinsky completes another successful ballet, Petrushka. Three years later, Stravinsky composes the two part ballet Le Sacre du Primtemps (The Rite of Spring). This ballet marked the coming of modernism in music and was met with astonishment and hostility. The riot that followed was the most notorious event in music history.
Right after the performance, he developed typhoid fever, which took six weeks to recover from. Around the same time, Catherina and Ludmila were found to have tuberculosis. A year later Ludmila did and after giving birth to their fourth child Maria Milena, Catherina also died. Three months after that his mother died also. After all these deaths in his life, Stravinsky also diagnosed with tuberculosis. He spent five months recovering with his newest daughter Milena; she took six years to recover. Stravinsky met Vera de Bosset in Paris in February 1921, his new wife to be. At the time when they first met Vera was still married to the painter and stage designer Serge Sudeikin. They began an affair which led Vera to leave her husband. During his last years in Paris, Stravinsky made professional connections with people in the U.S.
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