Although George Balanchine was accepted into the ballet program at the St. Petersburg Imperial Theater School at age nine, he began playing piano even earlier (at the ripe age of five). As a teen, he was dancing, studying piano, and learning music theory at the Petrograd Conservatory of Music. To put a dancers point on it, Balanchine was a choreographer with an incredible talent for speaking and understanding music -- an intimate relationship that Ballet Arizona and The Phoenix Symphony explore with Balanchine Classics.
Balanchine worked directly with Sergei Prokofiev (of Romeo and Juliet and Peter and the Wolf fame) on the Prodigal Son in 1929 and with German neo-classicist Paul Hindemith on The Four Temperaments in 1946. His collaboration with Mozart on Divertimento #15 is more spiritual, and, of course, the combo of the two child prodigies moves us beyond words.