Igor Stravinsky makes his US debut conducting the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall on January 8, the first of three nights that included the Firebird and Pulcinella Suites, Fireworks, and, on the final concert, Pétrouchka.
Stravinsky’s Carnegie Hall appearance was part of a lucrative three-month American tour that took the 42-year-old Russian composer from New York to Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, and Cincinnati. Following several other tour stops, Stravinsky returned to Carnegie Hall to play his Piano Concerto with the Philharmonic under Willem Mengelberg on February 5 and 6.
“What energy there is in your immense country!” an awed Stravinsky remarked of the US. “Your skyscrapers impressed me as leading to new visions in art.” The New York Times noted that after rehearsing the New York Philharmonic in Carnegie Hall on his first day in the US, Stravinsky was off “to hear on its native heath the dance music that the Old World has called American jazz.”
By the time of his last Carnegie Hall appearance in 1967, Stravinsky had conducted 40 times at the Hall, and more than 40 of his works had their premieres here, including the world premieres of his Ebony Concerto and Symphony in Three Movements, and the US premiere of his Firebird Suite (1919 version).
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