The Stravinsky Years

In Search of Stravinsky

Gregg Smith: “At one point during the period of time that GSS was beginning to perform and record his choral works, Stravinsky was supposed to conduct a huge orchestra, but he became ill and couldn't conduct. Robert Craft conducted. But concert management didn't like this—people came to the concerts to see Stravinsky, even though the music would sound identical. And Stravinsky would just disappear if he was ill. He didn't like to explain, he would just disappear.

Well, for this particular concert, management wanted to know where and how Stravinsky was, whether he conducted the concert or not. So they sent John McClure and me in search of Stravinsky. We drove up to his house together. There were lights on, but the place looked very quiet. We rang the front bell. No answer. After a while, we went around to the side. There was a row of garbage cans. We climbed up on top of the garbage cans to see if we could see inside. Never saw anyone. But we stood on top of Stravinsky's garbage cans!”