From the Archives

THROWBACK: Stravinsky at Princeton... 50 years ago!

"I am greatly relieved by your assurance that I will not be prodded or hurried for I can only work in my own tempo and under my own pressures." - Igor Stravinsky, 1964

In this letter dated October 26, 1964 Stravinsky indicates a preliminary interest in Mr. Seeger's commission. 

In this note from November 9, 1964 Stravinsky expresses his assent to the conditions of the agreement.

The letter sent on February 22, 1965 is a positive commitment to the project of composing a Requiem. 

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Stravinsky’s stay at Princeton. To commemorate the legendary composer’s relationship with the University, we turn to the annals of Princeton’s history. A record of various correspondences, regarding Stravinsky’s commission and the nature of the developing composition, reveals an eager composer and an enthusiastic University. In a November 9, 1964 reply to Stanley J Seeger, a Princeton alum, Stravinsky wrote, “I am greatly relieved by your assurance that I will not be prodded or hurried for I can only work in my own tempo and under my own pressures.” 

Just two years later, Requiem Canticles was given its world premiere right here in McCarter Theatre. The October 8, 1966 program featured works performed in memory of Claude Debussy and Aldous Huxley, both of whom Stravinsky knew well. In attendance were contemporary composer, Aaron Copland, and theoretical physicist, J. Robert Oppenheimer. To recreate the beginning of the 1966 concert, we will open Sunday’s performance with Stravinsky’s setting of Pater Noster. 

Richardson Auditorium
Alexander Hall
Sunday, December 11 | 3:00PM
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Portrait of Igor Stravinsky  by Arnold Newman, Princeton University 1966