Pyotr Ilyich TchaikovskyComposer
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is widely considered the most popular Russian composer in history. His work includes The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, all of which are used in Matthew Bourne's versions of these productions.
Tchaikovsky was the first Russian composer whose music gave lasting impression across the world. He was honoured in 1884 by Emperor of Russia Alexander III, and awarded a lifetime pension.
Although talented in music, Tchaikovsky originally was schooled for a career as a civil servant. There was little opportunity for a musical career in Russia at that time and no system of public music education. When an opportunity for such an education arose, he entered the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, where he graduated from in 1865.
Despite his many popular successes, Tchaikovsky's life was punctuated by personal crises and depression. Contributory factors included his early separation from his mother for boarding school followed by his mother's early death, the death of his close friend and colleague Nikolai Rubinstein, and the collapse of the one enduring relationship of his adult life, which was his 13-year association with the wealthy widow Nadezhda von Meck who was his patron even though they never actually met each other. Tchaikovsky died suddenly at the age of 53, generally ascribed to cholera there is an ongoing debate as to whether this disease was indeed the cause of death, and whether his death was accidental or self-inflicted.
Saint Petersburg Conservatory
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- Sleeping Beauty Composer
- Swan Lake Composer
- Nutcracker! Composer