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NYCB Vol. 3 No. 16 - Stravinsky Festival

Today the Stravinsky Festival opens, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1972 festival. Before the curtain came up, Balanchine took to the stage and said:

“Well, you see, it’s really very simple. Today is Stravinsky’s ninetieth birthday and he is here. Actually, he took a leave of absence. He called me on the phone and said, ‘George, it’s all yours. Do what you want.” Balanchine told us we would hear lots of music played by his wonderful orchestra and promised that we would really get to know Stravinsky by ear. “That such a little man wrote so many notes… its a fantastic thing.”

Stravinsky Festival by Nancy Goldner (affiliate link)

The opening performance began with a rendition of Happy Birthday in honor of Stravinsky’s 90th birthday. After that, the program continued with Fireworks, Scherzo Fantastique, Symphony in Three Movements, Violin Concerto, and Firebird. Tonight’s opening program will include four out of five of these works, very closely following the content of the original opening night, only leaving out Violin Concerto which will be seen later this week.

Balanchine giving opening remarks, June 18th, 1972.

Photo by Martha Swope

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