University of Sussex
Baxter,_Hannah.pdf (32.03 MB)

The effect of Stravinsky’s ballets on the role of the conductor

Download (32.03 MB)
posted on 2023-06-08, 17:40 authored by Hannah Baxter
This thesis explores Stravinsky's effect on the role of the conductor, employing a combination of score analysis, performance analysis, aesthetics and historicism. Stravinsky is widely regarded as one of the most influential composers of the Twentieth Century, and this now 'mythic' influence is perceived by many to have transformed the conductor's work. I investigate how true this assumption is, and whether The Rite of Spring in particular is responsible for any developments. The compound methodology allows for the study of rhythm, structure, harmony, instrumentation, hermeneutics and staging. My seven case studies (The Firebird, Petrushka, The Rite of Spring, Les Noces, Apollo, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, and Agon) are all ballets, which also places spotlight on a commonly neglected genre in music. This allows for the consideration of choreography - an additional influencing factor that is bypassed in most musicological and conducting literature. Moreover, the study of Stravinsky's ballets, as they span the composer's entire career, can serve as a useful lens through which to view the composer's repertoire as a whole. Therefore the findings of the thesis can be indicative of Stravinsky's broader influence on the conductor. The conclusions drawn were that although it is impossible to refute Stravinsky's overall impact on the conductor's work (particularly in relation to his comtemporaries), there are numerous overrated areas of impact. Furthermore, The Rite of Spring is not solely responsible for these changes. In fact, it overshadows the challenges present throughout Stravinsky's repertoire, which manifest themselves in the innovative choreography, instrumentation, rhythm and anti-interpretative devices.


File Version

  • Published version



Department affiliated with

  • Music Theses

Qualification level

  • doctoral

Qualification name

  • phd


  • eng


University of Sussex

Full text available

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Theses)


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager