Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky Artistfacts

  • May 7, 1840 - November 6, 1893
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk, a grim industrial Russian town half way between Moscow and the Ural mountains.
  • Pyotr was a withdrawn child, who was affected by abnormal insensitivity. He sought refuge in music from an early age and began piano lessons at the age of five showing remarkable gifts.
  • In 1866, Tchaikovsky was appointed professor of theory and harmony at the Moscow Conservatory, which had been established that year. He held the post until 1877 when his patron, Nadezhda von Meck, gave him an annual allowance which enabled him to give up teaching and became a full time composer.
  • A wealthy middle-aged widow, Madame Von Meck agreed to pay Tchaikovsky 6,000 rubles a year providing they never met, as she feared it would destroy their friendship. Her patronage enabled him never to have to worry about money.
  • Tchaikovsky's music was highly emotional, melancholic, melodic, and many of his themes were taken from Russian folk tunes. He wrote 11 operas, 3 ballets and 6 symphonies.
  • Tchaikovsky married a former student of his Antonina at the Church of Saint George in Moscow on July 18, 1877. They had their honeymoon on the Moscow- St. Petersburg train.
  • The marriage was hasty, and Tchaikovsky quickly found he could not bear his wife. The composer sneaked away one night six weeks after their marriage and fled to his brother, Anatoly in St. Petersburg. Antonia kept in touch with letters and they never divorced.
  • In 1890 Nadezhda von Meck abruptly cut off her support for the composer. It is widely believed that she did so because she found out about Tchaikovsky's homosexual orientation. However, by now Tchaikovsky had achieved success throughout Europe and he was able to finance himself.
  • A few days after conducting the first performance of his sixth symphony in St Petersburg, Tchaikovsky drank a glass of unboiled water at a local restaurant, even though a cholera epidemic was raging through the city. He lapsed into a dehydrated fever. A week later his kidneys failed and the composer died at 3.00 on the morning of November 6, 1893. (Source of above The Encyclopedia of Trivia).

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