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Was born June 17, 1882 in Oranienbaum, Russia
Composed during the 20th CENTURY
Started piano lessons at age 9
His father was the lead bass of the St. Petersburg opera, however
his parents did not consider music as a career choice for him
Studied law before becoming a composer – even though he hated
it, he continued to study law thinking he would not be able to
support himself as a composer
Studied music and composition with composer Nikolai RimskyKorsakov
In 1908 he sent his symphonic work Fireworks to his teacher as a
wedding present for his daughter
When Rimsky-Korsakov died, he spent a month grieving the loss
and then composed Funeral Chant in his memory
His ballet Rite of Spring caused a riot when it was performed in
Paris – the audience was unreceptive to the dances and strange
sounding music
His first visit to the United States was in 1925 when he conducted
the New York Philharmonic in a program of his works
He was a religious man and his opera Oedipus Rex and piece
Symphony of Psalms reflect his religious views
When war threatened Europe in 1939, he left for Cambridge,
Massachusetts, and applied for American citizenship in 1941
He often experimented with instrumentation in his works – he
said he always knew what he was doing musically, but his
audiences didn’t always follow him
Died April 6, 1971 at the age of 88