Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky

Aamina Dhar 1840-1893

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Tchaikovsky's Early Years:

Tchaikovsky came from a wealthy Russian family and was born in the town of Votkinsk on May 7, 1840. Tchaikovsky did not come from a musically inclined family, and when he showed an interest in music, his beloved nanny, Fanny, worried that his passion was an unhealthy obsession.

Tchaikovsky's mother, Alexandra, was the second wife to Ilya Petrovich, and played a huge part in Tchaikovsky's life. Tchaikovsky adored his mother, though she was cold and distant. She did not care for hugs or other physical shows of affection, and only wished to go back to her hometown: St. Petersburg.

Map of St. Petersburg

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Above is a map of St. Petersburg in the 1890's. St. Petersburg is relevant to Tchaikovsky's life because it was his mother's hometown, and it was where they moved to when they lost their fortune. He and his brother, Nikolay, were enrolled in a fashionable school, called Schmelling School, where they were treated cruelly. They worked until midnight on their work, and the other students bullied them because they viewed them as 'country bumpkins.' It was in 1848 that Tchaikovsky had measles and was pulled out.
Tchaikovsky · Symphony No 4 · Wiener Philharmoniker · Herbert Von Karajan

Symphony No. 4:

Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 was completed after his disastrous marriage to Antonia Milyukova, in 1878. Tchaikovsky stated in a letter that the theme of Symphony No. 4 was fate. The first movement is lyrical, like an intermezzo, and the third movement focuses on pizzicato strings. The finale incorporates a folk theme, something Tchaikovsky is known for doing. Symphony No. 4 is one Tchaikovsky's most well-known pieces.

Tchaikovsky's Other Music:

  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Francesca da Rimini
  • Swan Lake
  • The Maid of Orleans
  • The Queen of Spades,
  • Piano Concerto No. 1
  • The Nutcracker Suite
  • 1812 Overture

Tchaikovsky's Legacy:

Though Tchaikovsky may have died in 1893, his legacy still lives on. The Nutcracker Suite and Swan Lake are some of the most commonly performed ballet productions in the world. His incorporation of folk themes in Romantic music is certainly remembered with fondness-if not awe. His piano concerto is remembered as a milestone in music, with its apparent asymmetry and bravo. Tchaikovsky is a renowned composer, and will continue to be.


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

Portrait of the composer Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky (1840-1893). Photography.
Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 31 May 2016.


Vallianatos, Constantinos, ed. "Tchaikovsky- Symphony No.4- Wiener
Philharmoniker-Herbert Von Karajan." YouTube.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 June
2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTKvpH3TsJM>.