Pytor Ilych Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Anika Gupta

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Tchaikovsky's Early Life

Peter Tchaikovsky didn't have a very musical family. His mother, was the second wife of his father Ilya Petrovich, and Tchaikovsky loved and cherished her dearly. He had six siblings and had a very close relationship to his younger sister, Alexandra and his twin siblings, Modest and Anatol. Peter was absorbed in his music since a little boy and his nanny, Fanny Dürback who was a governess, didn't see this as a good thing for him, she preferred he listen and read stories. Either way though, Fanny had a good influence on Tchaikovsky and she helped shape a lot of his life. Tchaikovsky was a kind-hearted little boy, and he was known to be very attached to his family. On time, when his mother was getting ready to leave, Tchaikovsky clung onto the carriage door, even as it moved, dragging him until he could no longer hold on.
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Tchaikovsky's Ballet Music.

Tchaikovsky wrote piano concertos and symphonies, but he was also famous for ballet. He wrote music for Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty (The picture above). The music was often played by the harp and woodwinds. In fact, a special instrument was introduced in Dance of the Sugar Plum fairy, the glockenspiel. Tchaikovsky's music corresponded with the dance and it was a beautiful when put together in the show.
Lang Lang plays Tchaikovsky : Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Opus 23 [HD]

Piano Concerto No. 1

Tchaikovsky, when writing his piano piece, went his friend and pianist, Nikolay Rubinstein, to consult him about his music. Rubinstein, after hearing the music, was not impressed. He said it was "uneven" and complicated. Tchaikovsky was disappointed by this comment, and he dedicated it to pianist, Hans von Bülow, instead of Rubinstein. Though, despite what his friend said, Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 became the most famous of all the piano concertos because, ironically, of how difficult it was.

Tchaikovsky's Music

  • The Fourth Symphony
  • Swan Lake
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • 1812 Overture
  • Queen of Spades
  • Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky's Legacy

Tchaikovsky was a quite different composer from Beethoven or Mozart. Her didn't have a very musical family and definitively was never taught by anyone in his family. But through all those dramatic and tragic moments in life he continued to compose and never did stop. Tchaikovsky taught us that talent at a young age isn't needed, you just need passion and love.


  • MrOsomatsu. “Lang Lang plays Tchaikovsky : Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Opus 23.” YouTube. N.p., 13 Sept. 2014. Web. 17 Mar. 2016. <>.
  • “Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2015. Web. 22 Sep. 2015
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 16 Mar 2016.


  • Tchaikovsky / Swan Lake / Berlin 1956. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 16 Mar 2016.