Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

1840-1893 Created by: Helena H.

Tchaikovsky's Early Life

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Russia, in a town named Votkinsk on May 7, 1840. Unlike all the other composers, Tchaikovsky's family was not interested in music. His father, Ilya Petrovich, was a magistrate and lived in a large estate with many serfs working for him. Tchaikovsky's mother, Alexandra, was his father's second wife and she was the one who brought music into the Tchaikovsky family. Tchaikovsky loved his mother but his mother did not return the love to him. She was a cold and distant woman and never liked the small town. Instead, she wanted to go back to the city St. Petersburg.

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This map is the map of Tchaikovsky's mother's home town, St. Petersburg, which they all moved to later on in their lives. Tchaikovsky's mother was from St. Petersburg and only moved down to the small town because she had married Ilya Petrovich. It says the Tchaikovsky's mother was not affectionate at all and barely showed affection towards he kids, including Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. She was self-absorbed and was distant to her kids. However, Tchaikovsky loved her so much. In 1854, Tchaikovsky's mother died from cholera and it was a traumatic event that he never recovered from.
Lang Lang plays Tchaikovsky : Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Opus 23 [HD]

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Tchaikovsky was not a virtuoso pianist but he had a friend, Nikolay Rubinstein, for his advice on the piano concerto that Tchaikovsky wrote. However, as soon as Rubinstein heard the piece, he immediately disliked it saying it was "uneven" and "extremely difficult to play." Tchaikovsky was very mad because of his response and decided not to dedicate the piece to Rubinstein. Instead, Tchaikovsky dedicated the piano concerto to a German virtuoso pianist and conductor, Hans von Bulow, who performed it for the first time in Boston in 1875.

Other Known Music

  • Symphonies Nos. 4, 5 and 6.
  • Piano Concerto No. 1.
  • Swan Lake (a ballet).
  • Sleeping Beauty (a ballet).
  • The Nutcracker (a ballet)
  • Eugene Onegin (an opera).
  • The Queen of Spades (an opera)
  • 1812 Overture (for orchestra, choir—and real canons!).
  • Marche Slave (Slavonic March)—for orchestra.
  • Many short dances from ‘The Nutcracker’ (a ballet), such as the ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’.

Tchaikovsky's Legacy

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is one of the greatest composers and will be known forever. When Tchaikovsky was little, his family was not interested in music. His mother is responsible for bring in music in the family which made Tchaikovsky into a spectacular composer. He created music in a wide variety, from ballet to piano concertos, to operas. He even included cannons in his music! Tchaikovsky will forever be one of the best composers in history.


  • Map Of St. Petersburg, Russia, 1899. Photo. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 31 May 2016.


  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 31 May 2016.


  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893). Kids Music Corner. Web. 22 Sep. 2015.