Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Composer

1812 Overture
Sleeping Beauty Valse
Capriccio Italien, Op. 45

Dates

Born May 7, 1840 in Votkinsk, Russia 
Died November 6, 1893 in St. Petersburg

Nationality

Russian

Style/Period

Romantic 1820-1910

Famous Works

The Nutcracker Suite, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, 1812 Overture, Symphony #6 "Pathetique," and Piano Concerto in B-flat.

Bio

Piotr (Peter) Tchaikovsky was the son of a wealthy mining engineer stationed in Russia. Although Piotr was taken care of by a French governess, Fanny Duback, he remained very close to his mother. At the age of 6, he began piano lessons. When he was 8, he was sent to a boarding school and missed his family greatly. His mother died when Piotr was 14 and this loss brought great sorrow to Piotr. By 19, he completed his law studies and was appointed to a job with the Ministry of Justice.

The pull of music never left him and he consequently gave up his government job and turned to the study of music at the age of 23. After two years of study he was appointed a professor of composition at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and began writing music in earnest. His Piano Concerto in B-flat  is one of the most famous pieces ever written for the piano. His music was very popular and he was in great demand as a conductor.

In 1891, he traveled to America where he was invited to conduct the New York Symphony at the opening of Carnegie Hall. Tchaikovsky died from cholera in St. Petersburg on November 6, 1893.