Stravinsky's work caused a scandal in 1913 but has since been recognized as one of the 20th century's most important pieces.
The audience, packed into the newly-opened Théâtre des Champs-Élysées to the point of standing room only, had neither seen nor heard anything like it.
As the first few bars of the orchestral work The Rite of Spring – Le Sacre du Printemps – by the young, little-known Russian composer Igor Stravinsky sounded, there was a disturbance in the audience. It was, according to some of those present – who included Marcel Proust, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy – the sound of derisive laughter.
By the time the curtain rose to reveal ballet dancers stomping the stage, the protests had reached a crescendo. The orchestra and dancers, choreographed by the legendary Vaslav Nijinsky, continued but it was impossible to hear the music above what Stravinsky described as a "terrific uproar".
As a riot ensured, two factions in the audience attacked each other, then the orchestra, which kept playing under a hail of vegetables and other objects. Forty people were forcibly ejected.
The reviews were merciless. "The work of a madman … sheer cacophony," wrote the composer Puccini. "A laborious and puerile barbarity," added Le Figaro's critic, Henri Quittard.
It was 29 May 1913. Classical music would never be the same again.