Tchaikovsky is probably THE most popular classical composer of all time. Best known for his ballet music and symphonies.
Portrait by Paul Helm ©
Born: 7 May 1840, Votkinsk a mining town in Russia.
Father: Ilya Petrovich, Ukrainian descent, a mining engineer.
Mother: Alexandra, Russian of partial French ancestry and the second of Ilya's three wives
Siblings: 4 brothers, 1 sister
Wife: Antonina Ivanovana Milyukoff, on July 6, 1877. (Marriage lasted less than a month)
Died: 6th November 1893, St.Petersburg.
Cause of death: Officially cholera. But various theories involving murder or suicide.
Grave: Alexander Nevsky Monastery, St. Petersburg. See findagrave
10 operas including:
-The Maid of Orleans
-Queen of Spades
-The Sleeping Beauty
-3 Piano Concertos
- age 5: started piano lessons.
- Age 10: - Sent to the School of Jurisprudence in St Petersburg.
- Age 14: His mother died of cholera. This had a profound and lasting effect on him as he was very close to her.
- Age 19- 23: Worked at the Ministry of Justuce.
- Age 23 - 26: Studied at the Conservatory, under Anton Rubinstein and Prof.Zarembe and did some private teaching.
- Age 26: Moved to Moscow. Appointed Professor of Harmony at the new Conservatory by Nicholas Rubinstein.
Completed his First Symphony.
- Age 29: Voyevoda, his first opera, performed at the Bolshoi. Composed his Romeo and Juliet overture.
- Age 33: Supplements his teaching income writing as a music critic. Composes his Second Symphony, First Piano Concerto and his first ballet Swan Lake.
- Age 36: A wealthy admirer, Madame Nadejda Fillaretovna von Meck, became his patron and sponsored him financially for 12 years. He dedicated his 4th Symphony to her.
- Age 37: Married one of his students, Antonina Ivanovana, but left her within a month. Failed suicide attempt.
- Age 38: Premiere of his opera Eugene Onegin.
- Age 40: Composes 1812 Overture and Serenade for Strings.
- Age 45: Receives a lifelong subsidy from the Tsar. Overcomes his shyness and starts conducting, appearing in concert halls throughout Europe.
- Age 50: Premiere of Sleeping Beauty and The Queen of Spades in St.Petersburg.
- Agg 51; (1891) Very successful tour of the USA
- Age 52: Nutcracker and Iolanta premiere in St.Petersburg.
- Age 53: Conducts the premiere of his 6th (Pathetique)Symphony. A few days later he falls ill and dies on 6th November.
- "I sit down to the piano regularly at nine-o'clock in the morning and Mesdames les Muses have learned to be on time for that rendezvous."
- Truly there would be reason to go mad were it not for music.
- The creative process is like music which takes root with extraordinary force and rapidity
- "A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood."
- "What I have set down in a moment of ardour I must then critically examine. Sometimes I must do myself violence before I can mercilessly erase things thought out with love."
Piano Concerto No. 1 - pt 1/3
Tchaikovsky on Benjamin Franklin's Glass Armonica
The Glass Armonica
This odd instrument in the above video was one of Benjamin Franklin's favourite inventions. Interesting. Find out more about it at the following sites.
A collection of related images from art, album covers, cartoons, postage stamps etc..
Being Russian his name was originally written in the Cyrillic language thus:
Петр Ильич Чайковский.
In English this is "Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky"
An approximate translation of the name is "like a seagull".
He himself also used "Tschaikovsky" and "Tschaikowsky".
In Polish it is commonly spelled "Czajkowski".
The Library of Congress has published a long is of acceptable spellings which you can see here.
Tchaikovsky - Research THE authoritative site.
Answers.com a compilation of reference site including an excellent entry on Wikipedia.
Arizona Opera a short bio
Favorite-classical-composers.com a biography and essays on his music
ClassicalNet a short bio
(Google Books) - Tchaikovsky by David Brown
Russian composers: profiles of more composers here at 52composers.com