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Montreux Celebration

Artists & People in Montreux


Igor Stravinski and Montreux

The Russian composer who acquired the French citizenship and later became a US citizen, stayed for a long time in Clarens, near Montreux.

He was a genius, famous conductor and piano player, treating all kind of music. Also he was very innovative in creations like Firebird or the Sonata for two pianos.

The Stravinsky family decided to settle on the Swiss Riviera because of the exceptional micro-climate which was appropriate for the health of his wife. The Stravinsky arrived in Montreux in the summer of 1910. They first stayed at the “Pension des Tilleuls”, then at the "Hôtel du Châtelard" at the "Hôtel des Crêtes" and finally in the "Villa Pervenche", former home of the Swiss composer and conductor Ernest Ansermet.

In this house, Stravinsky got the inspiration of his most famous composition "Sacre du Printemps", created in 1912, which provoked a scandal at his Première in Paris. Later on, he found the inspiration for "Petrouchka" while walking along the shores of the lake. Montreux was the Mecca for contemporary music at the beginning of the 20th century.

Stravinsky on his stays in Montreux would meet Maurice Ravel and Ernest Ansermet, conductor of the Kursaal orchestra. Ansermet promoted Stravinsky’s creations and introduced him to his friends Jean Cocteau, André Gide and Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz. Stravinsky collaborated with Ramuz for the creation of the "Story of a soldier" in 1918. In between, the Stravinsky family had moved to Morges nearby Lausanne. Later, they were travelling to France and to the USA. Stravinsky came back to Montreux in 1956 to conduct "Petrouchka" and "The Firebird".

In 1985, Clarens entitled a street "Sacre du Printemps" in honour of the illustrious composer. Then it was Montreux which nominated a street on his name. Montreux became a capital city of music festivals, and the Stravinsky Hall which has been built in remembrance of his famous inhabitant is the place where the Montreux Jazz Festival is held every year.

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