Tchaikovsky

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  • Grade: 80
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

        Peter Ilyick Tchaikovsky was born on May 7th, 1840 in Votkinsk, Russia. He was born

second in a family of five sons. Tchaikovsky seemed to have a natural talent for music since he

was young. At age five he started to take Piano lessons from his teacher Maria Markovna

Palchikova and soon became better than her. As a pre-teenager, he attended school at St.

Petersberg. His mother died in 1854 due to cholera. Peter again took piano lessons, this time with

Rudolf Kundinger. In his youth, he continued to study law, attending the School of Jurisprudence

although he found it quite boring and stopped. Tchaikovsky became rebellious to his family when

he quit his job as a clerk for the Ministry of Justice, and began to study music at St. Petersberg

Conservatory. Among his hobbies at the time were going to the Italian Operas (which were very

popular in Russia at the time) and listening to Mozart. Due to his lack of education though, at age

21, he could not tell how many symphonies Beethoven had composed.

        Tchaikovsky was first tutored by Zaremba, who taught him harmony and theory, although

at the time Peter did not know if he wanted to be a musician or not. Anton Rubinstein was his

next teacher, who taught him composition. There he composed the overture to "The Storm" and

Overture in F (which he also conducted). In 1866 he moved to Moscow accepting a teaching job

in a new conservatory along with Nicholas Rubinstein, Anton's brother. There he composed his

first symphony, "Winter Dreams"(in G Minor). This symphony was significant because it was

composed at night where he was having insomnia, along with headaches and hallucinations. This

is why he was said to have never composed at night ever again.
        
        In 1874, Tchaikovsky composed the concerto in B flat Minor, which he was going to

dedicate to his teacher Nicholas, but Nicholas criticized his work. He later composes symphony

number 4 in F Minor. Tchaikovsky was married to Anotonina Ivanovna Milyukov, but they later

separated. Peter Tchaikovsky moved to a country house of at Maidanovo, and continued his

Manfred, with help from Balakirev. At age 35, he produced what might me his most famous

opera, Swan Lake in 1875.

        In 1888, Tchaikovsky made a highly successful international concert tour as conductor,

meeting at Leipzig Brahms, Grieg and others, at Prague Dvorak, at Paris Gounod, Massenet, and

Paderewski. Finishes his Fifth Symphony, in E Minor. Three years later, he Visits America, and

conducts his own compositions at the ceremonies opening Carnegie Hall, New York. In 1890, he

had the production of the opera Sleeping Beauty. In 1892, he has the first performance of the

Nutcracker Suite.

        In the last years of his life, Peter returned to his country house at Klin in January of 1893,

and begins his Symphony No.6, the "Pathetic." He later went to England in June to receive an

honorary degree from Cambridge University, together with other famous composers like Boito,

Bruch, Saint-Saens and Grieg. The Sixth Symphony performed under his direction at the St.

Petersburg on Oct. 28, without marked success. In November 6, 1893 Tchaikovsky died. Reasons

for his death are controversial. Some say that he developed cholera and dies in St.Petersburg

others say that he committed suicide by taking poison to escape accusations of homosexuality.
Operas



Names Dates Composed
The Voyevode 1867-68
Undine 1869
The Oprichnik 1870-72
Vakula the Smith 1874, 1875
Eugenen Onegin 1877-78
The Maid of Orleans 1878-79, 1882
Mazeppa 1881-83
Tcherevichky Oxana's Caprices 1885
Queen of Spades 1890
Iolanthe 1891                        



Ballets



Names Dates Composed
Swan Lake 1875-76
The Sleeping Beauty 1875-76
The Nutcracker 1891-92
Dmitri the Pretender introduction to Act 1 1870
Snow Maiden 1873
domovoy scene in The Voyevode 1886
Hamlet 1891
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