Author Lauren Stringer reads from her book, "When Stravinsky met Nijinsky." Fellow Russians Stravinsky, the composer, and Vaslav Nijinsky, the dancer and choreographer, collaborated to create "The Rite of Spring" in 1913 in Paris. The performance's premiere and impact is the subject of Stringer's children's book. (Courtesy of Lauren Stringer) View full slideshow (3 total images)
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St. Paul, Minn. —
Minnesota children's author and illustrator Lauren Stringer says she loves the explosive charge in the arts at the beginning of the 20th century. She captures one of the most explosive moments of all in her book, When Stravinsky met Njinsky. Two Artists, Their Ballet and One Extraordinary Riot.
The idea for the book struck Stringer back in 2005, when she was leafing through a Minnesota Orchestra program. "I saw a photograph of Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav Njisky, and they were both very young," she recalls. " I've seen lots of photos of Stravinsky as a very old, famous composer but to see them there so young, I said to my husband, 'Look how young they are. What do you think it was like when Stravinsky met Njinksy. Wouldn't that be a great title for a book?' And it all kind of tumbled into a story that was put in and out of files for many years, but it started with a title and a photo."
Stringer's book provides the basis for a Friends and Family set of concerts this Sunday, April 27, with the Minnesota Orchestra playing the Rite of Spring. Lauren Stringer will read the book and the orchestra will play all of Stravinsky's monumental classic as historic slides will be screened behind the orchestra during the performance.
The concerts are at 1 and 3 p.m., and kids get in free. Books will be available for purchase at the concert, through St. Paul's Red Balloon bookstore.
In-flight entertainment: cello and beatbox
En route to Denver, a cellist and a flight attendant teamed up to treat the other passengers to an improvised cello/beatbox duet of a piece by Bach. Watch a video of the performance.