is usually considered the most influential
modern composer of the 20th century. He was born in
in 1882. His father was an operatic bass. He studied for 3 years with
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
style of his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov.
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.