5 Fun Facts About Igor Stravinsky
Courtesy of Maestro Niel DePonte
1. At one point, Stravinsky lived in a Swiss hotel, but wouldn’t compose there unless he was sure no one could hear him – which was rare. Later, a dealer set him up with a piano which was kept in a combination lumber storage-chicken coop. In the coop/lumber yard he composed some of his most famous works.
2. Stravinsky was romantically linked to Coco Chanel – a relationship that’s explored in the 2009 film Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky. (Inspired title, right?)
3. Stravinsky was known for ruthlessly promoting his music in order to support his lavish lifestyle. One of his triumphs was the inclusion of Rite of Spring in Walt Disney’s Fantasia. He also composed a commissioned work for dancing elephants which eventually become George Balanchine’s Circus Polka. Stravinsky was able to negotiate a high commission from the circus for his composition.
Bonus actual Balanchine/Stravinsky elephant conversation transcript:
Balanchine: “I wonder if you’d like to do a little ballet with me.”Stravinsky: “For whom?”Balanchine: “For some elephants.”Stravinsky: “How old?”Balanchine: “Very young.”Stravinsky: “All right. If they are very young elephants, I will do it.”
4. The audience protest at the 1913 premiere of The Rite of Spring was so loud that neither the dancers nor the audience could properly hear the music.
5. Towards the end of his life, Stravinsky became especially fond of the game Scrabble. Bonus question: How many points is “Stravinsky” worth?