Celebrities in Switzerland: Igor Stravinsky
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Stravinsky, Igor (1882 - 1971) Russia / Music star / VD

The Russian composer, who acquired first French and then American nationality, lived for a long time in Clarens, near Montreux. This amazing conductor and pianist dabbled in all genres of music and wowed the public with his innovations such as The Fire Bird and the Sonata for two pianos.

Strawinsky and his family decided to move to the Geneva Riviera, to take advantage of the region's exceptional micro-climate that was beneficial for his wife's health. They arrived in Montreux, on the banks of Lake Geneva, the summer of 1910. After having stayed in the Pension des Tilleuls, at the Hôtel du Châtelard and then the Hôtel Des Crêtes, the family finally settled into the Pervenche villa, the former home of Ernest Ansermet. There, Strawinsky found all the inspiration needed for his masterpiece, The Rite of Spring, which was composed in 1912 and caused a scandal at its premiere in Paris. His long walks along the lakeshore also inspired him for Petrouchka.

Montreux was the Mecca of contemporary music at the turn of the century. Some of the many composers and musicians that Strawinsky met during his stay in Montreux included Maurice Ravel and Ernest Ansermet, director of the Kursaal Orchestra. He promoted Strawinsky's works and introduced him to his friends Jean Cocteau, André Gide and Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz, with whom Strawinsky worked to compose The Soldier's Tale in 1918.

In the meantime, the Strawinsky family had moved to Morges, on the outskirts of Lausanne. They then traveled to France and the United States. Strawinsky returned in Montreux in 1956 to conduct sections of Petrouchka and The Fire Bird. In 1985, Clarens inaugurated the Rue du Sacre du Printemps (Rite of Spring Street) in honor of the famous musician.

Montreux has become a capital of music festivals and the Auditorium Strawinsky, which was built in memory of the city's illustrious inhabitant, serves as a concert hall for the annual Montreux Jazz Festival.

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