Stravinsky is usually considered the most influential serious modern composer of the 20th century. He was born in Russia in 1882. His father was an operatic bass. He studied for 3 years with Rimsky-Korsakov, and this influenced his early works a great deal. In 1910 he went to Paris to write ballet scores for Diaghilev. The first of these was The Firebird, which has a very exotic rich orchestration, but rooted in the late romantic style of his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov.

Only 3 years later, in 1913 he produced the score for the ballet The Rite of Spring. This was a revolutionary work, with jagged rhythms, frequent changes of time-signature, extensive syncopation, and crashing discords.  During the First World War, and after the Russian revolution in 1917, Stravinsky was unable to return to Russia, and he earned his living by conducting and performing as a concert pianist in France.

 At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, he went to the USA to settle in Los Angeles. In his later years he wrote much sacred music and turned to serialism and twelve-tone techniques. He died in New York in 1971.