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Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:
About Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky


Some composers in Tchaikovsky's day didn't think his music sounded "Russian" enough, but Tchaikovsky was Russian through and through. Tchaikovsky wrote symphonies, operas, songs, chamber music -- and of course, several wonderful ballets.

Music heard in this episode:
Tchaikovsky: Marche Slav
Tchaikovsky: Serenade for Strings
Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations
Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4, fourth movement
Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1
Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite : Russian Dance

Other shows about Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:
Ballet
The Nutcracker
Traditional Christmas Classical Music

Download this month's activity sheet



About Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
5/7/1840 - 11/6/1893
Born in Russia

Piotr (or Peter, as we would say in English) Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk, a town in Russia's Ural Mountains. When he was 8 years old, his family moved to the capital city of St. Petersburg. Even though Tchaikovsky was a good musician as a kid, that wasn't considered an "acceptable" profession, so his parents made him study law instead.

But even in law school, Tchaikovsky continued to study music. Eventually, he gave up his legal job and went to the St. Petersburg Conservatory. After he graduated, he moved to Moscow to teach at the new conservatory there. It's now named for him.

For years, Tchaikovsky had a patroness named Nadezhda von Meck -- a wealthy widow who was a big fan of Tchaikovsky's music. She regularly sent him money so that he could concentrate on composing without having to worry about making a living. But Nadezhda von Meck didn't want to meet Tchaikovsky. For 14 years, they only communicated by writing letters to each other. Tchaikovsky dedicated his Fourth Symphony to his patroness.

Tchaikovsky traveled all over Europe for performances of his music. In 1891, he even came to America for the opening of Carnegie Hall, where he was invited to conduct his music.

See other composers born in Russia

 

This Week's Quiz:

1. What country was Tchaikovsky from?

Germany

Russia

Italy

Poland


2.Tchaikovsky had a patron who gave him money but whom he never met.

True

False


3. The music pieces that Tchaikovsky is best known for are his

operas

symphonies

ballets

concertos



 

Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
The Nutcracker


Composed in 1891
Performed by Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava)
Ondrej Lenard, conductor

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