Igor Stravinsky (1882 – 1971): Russian but US citizen from 1945. His ballet The Rite of Spring (1913) transformed the way in which subsequent composers thought about rhythmic structure. I have an mp3 collection of his complete Ballets, Symphonies & orchestral music. Of course we have Walt Disney’s Fantasia for making Stravinsky almost a household name 🙂 I’m surprised Disney didn’t insist on royalties every time any version of The Rite gets played.
The ballet suites for The Firebird & Petrouchka are frequently performed as orchestral as well as ballet works. The only one I have seen as a ballet is the Rites. I was disappointed there were no dinosaurs 🙂 These three pieces have become classical war horses & I have versions interpreted by jazz, progrock & electronic musicians.
The Rite is, to my ears, the most ‘radical’ of the works of his I am familiar with thanks to this collection. I had at one time an MHS cassette set of some of these pieces, which lost its tension. For the most part his work is pleasant with elements of jazz, traditional classical, Russian folk melodies running through it. The ballet music doesn’t really need the ballet to enjoy it – then again, I also have soundtracks to movies I have never seen.
I’ve watched portions of the ballets on TV, YouTube & each dance company & choreographer brings their own vision to the music anyway so the visual elements – movement, lighting, costumes – are always changing while the music remains relatively the same. The non-ballet works are interesting & the symphonies are sweeping & satisfying.
Reading about his life I was surprised to find out that he moved to the USA in 1939 & settled down in Hollywood!