Peter Ilyitch Tschaikowski
Peter Ilyitch Tschaikowski was born in Votinsk, Russia, May 7, 1840.
He studied jurisprudence in St. Petersburg, and in 1859 was appointed to a position in the Ministry of Justice. In 1862 he left the service of the state and entered the newly founded Conservatory of Music in St. Petersburg, where he studied under Anton Rubinstein and Zaremba. From 1866 to 1878 he was teacher of harmony at the Moscow Conservatory, resigning in order to devote himself to original work. He retired to Klin and for years worked almost in seclusion. In 1891 he gave concerts in New York and other American cities; and at Oxford, England, in 1893, he conducted some of his own compositions, and from the University received the degree of Doctor of Music.
All of Tschaikowski’s works bear the imprint of the Slavonic temperament – fiery exaltation on a basis of languid melancholy. He like huge and fantastic outlines, strongly marked rhythms, subtle melodic turns, and exuberant figuration. He makes frequent use of the songs and dances of the Russian people. Everywhere his music makes the impression of genuine spontaneous originality. His works include several important operas, little known outside of Russian; symphonies, wherein some of his best orchestral composition, in which he was greatest, is shown; symphonic poems, overtures, orchestral suites, concertos, and many pianoforte pieces.
He died in St. Petersburg, November 7, 1893.