When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky Two Artists, Their Ballet, and One Extraordinary Riot
written and illustrated by Lauren Stringer published by Harcourt Children’s Books, An Imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013 ISBN: 978-0-547-90725-3
Igor Stravinsky composed wildly popular music. Vaslav Nijinsky’s dance was celebrated far and wide. But both dreamed of creating art that was different and new. When they met, their dream came true. The Rite of Spring was so original it inspired an unforgettable response. The audience at the premiere couldn’t agree: the performance was either brilliant or a disaster. But did it really cause them to fight in the aisles? Could a ballet provoke a riot? Stravinsky and Nijinsky’s did.
A Personal Note
In 2003, I thumbed through a program waiting for the Minnesota Symphony to begin to play. There was an article about Petrushka, the ballet performed by the Ballets Russes with music by Igor Stravinsky and the lead role of the love-lorn puppet was danced by Vaslav Nijinsky. The photo of Stravinsky and Nijinsky caught my eye and I wondered to myself: What was it like when Stravinsky met Nijinsky? Then I smiled and shared with my husband sitting next to me in Orchestra Hall, that I was going to start a book called: When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky, because I loved the title! Nine years later, with many revisions and lots of research, the story was complete!
My journal became the storage receptacle for collected images to inspire the illustrations and notes for the manuscript. Above are the pages for Stravinsky, Nijinsky, and The Rite of Spring. I glued an envelope onto each spread to hold all of the images I collected. I love research!
My first color portrait of Stravinsky and Nijinsky. When I painted this, I decided I might be able to actually illustrate this book!
Since I paint illustrations for my books on a wall, I can pin all of the finished ones all around me for constant reference. This works well for keeping the 17 spreads of a 32 page picture book looking as if they are all part of a whole. Usually it takes me six to eight months to paint a book-- but painting for 15 to 17 hours a day, I finished the illustrations for this book in two months and 8 days and made the deadline!