Karsh Signature

Yousuf Karsh, master photographer of the 20th century

Igor Stravinsky

Igor Stravinsky, 1956

Russian-born composer, pianist, and conductor Igor Stravinsky was born on this day, June 17, in 1882.

Stravinsky first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Serge Diaghilev and first performed in Paris by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911), and The Rite of Spring (1913). The latter transformed the way in which subsequent composers thought about rhythmic structure and was largely responsible for Stravinsky’s enduring reputation as a musical revolutionary who pushed the boundaries of musical design. By the time he was photographed by Karsh, in 1956, he was firmly in his “serial period.” Read more (Wikipedia)

InĀ Portraits of Greatness (1959, University of Toronto Press) Karsh wrote:

It has been said by his good friend Aldous Huxley that Igor Stravinsky is one of those happy intellectual amphibians who seem to be at home on the dry land of words or in the ocean of music… He entertained my wife and myself in California, in 1956, with a one-man symphony of conversation, witty and wise.