Igor Stravinsky, (17 June 1882 - 6 April 1971), Russian (born, later lived in France and then the United States). The only classical music composer present on TIME 100 list of People of the Century. Regardless of what criticism people might have of the list, Igor Stravinsky is widely acknowledged as truly a massively influential composer and possibly the most important and iconic figure of modern classical music.
And of course, to speak of Igor Stravinsky, one has to mention his Magnum Opus, The Rite of Spring, the true succès de scandale, which had helped turn Stravinsky into the most famous and influential composer of the 20th century overnight. After a century, no modern classical pieces have ever come close to the complexity, beauty, innovativeness and influence of the piece, and some critics have even said that modern classical pieces are nothing but badly rewritten The Rite of Spring. Of course, that just shows how incredibly influential The Rite of Spring and Igor Stravinsky are to the modern classical music scene. The piece is popularized outside of classical music listener circle through Fantasia of Walt Disney, which contained a re-interpretation (and re-ordering and cuts) of The Rite of Spring (which Stravinsky highly criticized, by the way).
Other than The Rite of Spring, Igor Stravinsky's notable works also include The Firebird, and Petrushka. The Firebird is probably the nicest-to-your-ear piece that Igor Stravinsky's ever written, and is also a piece in Fantasia (again, with re-ordering and re-interpretation, Stravinsky would be furious if he was alive). Petrushka contains some significant amount of atonality and polytonality, and of course with The Rite of Spring, every rules of harmony and rhythm go out of the window.
Beyond those three works though, Igor Stravinsky wasn't really notable for anything else. That wasn't because his other works are bad, but after you wrote something like The Rite Of Spring, people started having ridiculously high expectation of you and subsequently got disappointed (again, it should be stressed that no other pieces have topped The Rite Of Spring in a century). Furthermore, he also stopped writing in that style and tried other things, like Serialism, Neo-Classicism (to which he was also highly important). Consequently, his other works faded in the presence of the three important works The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring.
Reputed to be a philanderer. Rumored to having an affair with Coco Chanel, as well as some other high profile people.
- ↑ Though a few of them were highly criticized