The Classical Musician IGOR STRAVINSKY

His Rite of Spring heralded the century. After that, he never stopped reinventing himself--or modern music

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I heard him conduct only once, during a program in his honor in 1959 at New York City's Town Hall. What an event that was! Stravinsky led a performance of Les Noces, a vocal/theater work accompanied by four pianos--played by Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Lukas Foss and Roger Sessions. Each brought his own charisma to the event, but all seemed to be in awe of Stravinsky--as if he appeared before them with one foot on earth and the other planted firmly on Olympus.

He was electrifying for me too. He conducted with an energy and vividness that completely conveyed his every musical intention. Seeing him at that moment, embodying his work in demeanor and gestures, is one of my most treasured musical memories. Here was Stravinsky, a musical revolutionary whose own evolution never stopped. There is not a composer who lived during his time or is alive today who was not touched, and sometimes transformed, by his work.

Composer-performer Philip Glass has written many works of opera and musical theater

Prodigious Performers

Three virtuosos who inspired cult followings and made unforgettable music:

Maria Callas
Yes, this tempestuous diva could infuriate colleagues and managers. But she nearly single-handedly revived bel canto and, in performances like her 1956 Met debut in Norma, drew passionate admirers with her unmatched intensity.

Vladimir Horowitz
The dazzling pianist fled the Soviet Union in 1926 and became an international star, renowned for his trip-hammer technique and romantic repertoire. When he returned home for a series of concerts in 1986, the audiences wept with joy.

Leonard Bernstein
His 1943 debut with the New York Philharmonic made Page One of the New York Times. For the next 47 years, the maestro continued to wow audiences with his exuberant style and his passion for all music from Beethoven to Broadway.

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