Stravinsky, Picasso, and Cubism


Leon Botstein conductor
Blair McMillen piano

Part of TŌN’s Sight & Sound series

In the hit series Sight & Sound, conductor and music historian Leon Botstein explores the parallels between orchestral music and the visual arts. A discussion is accompanied by on-screen artworks and musical excerpts performed by The Orchestra Now, followed by a full performance and audience Q&A.

Igor Stravinsky fled the Russian Revolution and ultimately settled in Paris in the 1920s. He formed close friendships with contemporary visual artists, including Pablo Picasso, a founder of Cubism. Cubism sought to deconstruct the familiar and reassemble reality through a disciplined formal approach to painting and sculpture. Cubism inspired Stravinsky to develop a new approach to the construction of musical forms, relying in part on familiar models from the past. One of the earliest of his “neo-classic” masterpieces was this concerto. Stravinsky loved to perform it himself and believed that the piano, a percussive instrument, worked well with the sound of wind instruments.


>Read the concert program

Discussion, on-screen artworks, and musical excerpts
Leon Botstein and The Orchestra Now

20 min

Igor Stravinsky Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments
Blair McMillen piano
20 min

Q&A with the audience

Sample the Music

Stravinsky Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments

Image: Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France). Man with a Guitar (detail), Paris, 1915–16. Watercolor, gouache, resin, and graphite on white wove paper, 12 1/4 × 9 1/2 in. (31.1 × 24.1 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection, Gift of Leonard A. Lauder, 2016 (2016.237.3). © 2021 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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