Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, classical music composer

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky image

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Biography

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born on May 7th, 1840 into a middle-class family with a long line of military service. He began piano lessons at the age of five and showed an early propensity for music. While his parents initially encouraged his musical talents, their attitude gradually cooled and in 1850 they sent him to the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in Saint Petersburg. Little concerned with music, the Imperial School of Jurisprudence would prepare Tchaikovsky for a career as a civil servant. Nevertheless, he remained active in music, regularly attending the theater and opera and becoming quite fond of works by Rossini, Verdi and Mozart. A few months after his mother suddenly passed away from cholera in June 1854, he made his first serious efforts at composition.

On June 10th, 1859, Tchaikovsky graduated from the School of Jurisprudence and entered into a low level civil service position. Beginning in 1862, he studied harmony and counterpoint with Nikolai Zaremba and instrumentation and composition with Anton Rubinstein. In 1863, he abandoned his position in civil service and began attending the Saint Petersburg Conservatory full-time, graduating a few years later in 1865. Tchaikovsky's relationship with Rubinstein proved to be advantageous for the young composer, though it also drew the ire of the nationalistic group of composers led by Mily Balakirev, known as The Five. Rubinstein and Tchaikovsky were both criticized by The Five, particularly by César Cui, for their Western-influenced styles. Nevertheless, Tchaikovsky eventually forged working relationships with most members of The Five. Balakirev recognized Tchaikovsky's talents as an artist and collaborated with him on the Romeo and Juliet overture. Rimsky-Korsakov sought advice from him in composition.

Between 1867 and 1878, Tchaikovsky composed several of his most well-known compositions, including the First Piano Concerto, the Variations on a Rococo Theme for cello and orchestra and the ballet Swan Lake. During this time he also began teaching at the Moscow Conservatory. Working alongside Nikolai Rubinstein, Anton's brother, and receiving frequent performances of his music, Tchaikovsky had his first taste of fame. At the end of this period, however, Tchaikovsky entered into an ill-fated marriage with one his former pupils, Antonina Miliukova. The brief time they spent together caused a great deal of emotional turmoil for Tchaikovsky. However, this singular event is often attributed for the increased creative activity that followed and led to such works as the Fourth Symphony, the opera Eugene Onegin and the Violin Concerto.

With his fame continuing to grow throughout Europe, Tchaikovsky reached a point of relative stability with the patronage of Nzadezhda von Meck, the wealthy widow of a Russian railway tycoon. Besides the annual subsidy with which she provided him, Meck was also a source of encouragement for Tchaikovsky. With the assurance of income from Meck, Tchaikovsky travelled extensively in the years following 1878, never remaining in one place for long.

His sojourning years came to end, however, in 1884. In March of that year, Tsar Alexander III conferred upon him the Order of St. Vladimir, which brought with it hereditary nobility. He was given an audience with the Tsar himself and eventually received a lifetime pension. In 1892, he was made a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in France, becoming only the second Russian to receive the honor. A year later, the University of Cambridge awarded him an honorary Doctor of Music.

On November 6th, 1893, a mere nine days after the premiere of his Sixth Symphony, Tchaikovsky died in Saint Petersburg. Only fifty-three years of age, it is generally believed his death was the result of cholera, though some speculate that his death may have been a suicide. His posthumous fame as a composer was some unsettled during the first part of the 20th century. Always popular with audiences, his music at times has been criticized by other composers and musicians. Today, however, he is regarded as one of the foremost composers of 19th century Russia.


Composer Title Date Action
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky String Sextet in D minor, Op. 70 "Souvenir de Florence" 04/01/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Scene from Act 1, The Queen of Spades 04/09/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pas de deux from Nutcracker (arr. Pletnev) 05/02/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Scherzo 05/18/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky March, from The Nutcracker Suite 01/26/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Andante maestoso (Pas de deux), from The Nutcracker Suite 01/08/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Valse-Scherzo in C Major 01/20/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings Orchestra in C Major, Op. 48 01/10/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in b-flat minor, Op. 23 05/21/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in b-flat minor, Op. 23 12/21/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto no. 2 in G major op. 44 (1879-1880, transcription for 2 pianos) 06/21/2010 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Symphony no. 4 in F minor, Op. 36 04/15/2011 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Piano Trio in A minor Op. 50 (Part 2) 12/24/2011 Play
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Piano Trio in A minor Op. 50 (Part 1) 12/24/2011 Play
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in b-flat minor, Op. 23 12/24/2011 Play
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Ballet Suite for Piano from The Nutcracker 03/06/2012 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Dumka, Op. 59 05/11/2011 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Dumka, Op. 59 11/25/2010 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet 08/19/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Romeo and Juliet 05/21/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Hermann's arioso ("Forgive me..."), Scene 2, The Queen of Spades 04/09/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Hermann's arioso ("I don't know her name"), from The Queen of Spades 04/09/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Duet of Vodemon and Iolanta, from Iolanta 04/09/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Two movements from the ballet "The Sleeping Beauty" 05/16/2011 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky June: Barcarolle from The Seasons, Op. 37 04/15/2012 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Marche Miniature from Orchestral Suite No. 1 Op. 43 01/09/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Melodie, Op. 42, No. 3 03/19/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Russian Dance from Swan Lake (arr. Bellison) 02/04/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Meditation, from 18 Pieces, Op.72 07/10/2011 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Nocturne In F Major, Op.10 No. 1 03/26/2012 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Quartet No. 1 Op. 11, in D Major, Moderato e semplice 04/20/2011 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Quartet No. 1 Op. 11, in D Major, mov. 2, Andante cantabile 04/20/2011 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Quartet No. 1 Op. 11, in D Major, mov. 3, Scherzo 04/20/2011 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Quartet No. 1 Op. 11, in D Major, mov. 4, Finale 04/20/2011 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11 03/31/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Valse Sentimentale, Op. 51, No. 6 10/26/2011 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Russian Dance, from 12 Pieces, Op. 40, No. 10 07/10/2011 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Valse In A Flat Major, Op. 40 No. 8 03/26/2012 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Valse In F Sharp Minor, Op. 40 No. 9 03/26/2012 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Don Juan's Serenade 01/11/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Song Without Words 02/21/2009 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto 01/12/2012 Play
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Valse Scherzo in C Major 08/27/2012 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky From Eugene Onegin Lenski's Aria 10/12/2012 Play
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky From Eugene Onegin: Gremin's Aria 10/19/2012 Play
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Méditation, from Souvenir d’un lieu cher 11/29/2012 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Meditation, from 18 Pieces, Op.72 01/03/2013 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 in b-flat minor, Op. 23 03/10/2013 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto 05/05/2013 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky From Eugene Onegin: Onegin's Aria 09/06/2012 Play
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky from Eugene Onegin: Act 3 Scene 2 10/12/2012 Play
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Scherzo, from Souvenir d’un lieu cher, Op. 42 01/20/2014 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Mélodie, from Souvenir d’un lieu cher, Op. 42 01/20/2014 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations 02/06/2014 Play
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Symphony no. 1, "Winter Dreams" 05/04/2014 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Symphony no. 5, (excerpt from the 2nd mov.) 08/01/2014 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Symphony no. 4, op.36 05/03/2015 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Kabi znala ya 05/07/2015 Play
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker Suite 05/26/2015 Play Add to playlist
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Allegro con spirito, from Souvenir de Florence 11/30/2015 Play Add to playlist