Ironically, Stravinsky’s father wanted him to be a lawyer instead of a musician, but Stravinsky was bored with law study (Venezia 11). Stravinsky was always more interested in music. While at law school, Stravinsky met Vladimir Rimsky-Korsakov whose father was the very famous composer, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Stravinsky would eventually begin to work with Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov who would eventually teach him about composition. After a vast career in composing different musical scores, Stravinsky died of heart failure in 1971 (Henahan). 2. Biographical Information Stravinsky was born on June 17, 1882. His ancestry was Polish from his father’s side of the family (Oliver 12). Stravinsky had four brothers, and only the youngest brother, Gury was interested in music. Stravinsky was very close to his younger brother because they shared this musical interest, and his brother was a baritone singer. The two boys clung to each other for the affection that they did not receive from their parents. Stravinsky would describe his childhood as “lonely and unhappy” which created challenges for him as a child (Oliver 12). Unfortunately, his brother died of typhus in 1917 (Oliver 14). Needing love and affection, Stravinsky turned to the butler, Simon Ivanovich and his nurse, Bertha, for the affection that he did not receive from his family. For quite some time during his childhood, Stravinsky stayed in his room because his parents thought that his health was too fragile (Oliver 14). As he became older, Bertha and Simon found was to shield him from the cruelty of his father; although Stravinsky as he grew older would not talk about what happened (Oliver 14).
At the age of nine, Stravinsky had begun to play piano and he was fascinated by the music. His father did not want him to become a musician because he felt this life was too insecure and it was not a proper career for a young man (Dobrin 14). Instead, Stravinsky’s father forced him into law school because he felt this would be a more lucrative career that would provide him with a more steady income (Dobrin 14). Enrollment into the University of St. Petersburg would be his fate to study law, but he soon found it to be boring. He was more fascinated by music, and although the concept of counterpoint can be considered boring to most musicians, it was of interest to Stravinsky (Dobrin 16). At the university, Stravinsky became friends with Vladimir Rimsky-Korsakov. The two men became fast friends and this lead to Stravinsky working for Vladimir’s father, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov and eventually he would be able to begin learning composition from him (Dobrin 15). Stravinsky would live his life in Europe and in America. After studying with Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky began to be influenced by composers like Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel (Schwartz). In his various compositions, one can hear the influences if they listen closely. Within the music of “Fireworks”, “The Faun and the Shepherdess”, and the “Firebird” ballet, one can find the influence of Debussy and Ravel (Schwartz). All of Stravinsky’s music became a part of what is called “the standard repertory” because of his ability to write very good music. Stravinsky often performed his own work. He began by writing, composing, and playing it on piano, but he eventually began to conduct his own work. He is credited with being the “first contemporary composer”