• Composer of the Week:   Pytor Tchaikovsky
    TchaiKovsky Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovksy  (Peter Ill-yitch Chi-Koff-Skee) was born in Votkinsk, Russia in 1840.  Located about 500 miles East of Moscow, this area was rural and didn’t have many services.  At age 13, Tchaikovsky left his mother to go to boarding school, as there was no public education system at the time.  Even though he had trained to be a low-ranking lawyer, he eventually enrolled in and graduated from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, a well-known school of music. 

    Tchaikovsky was different than other Russian composers of the time, who focused on Russian folk melodies and music that glorified the Russian state.  While he still used these ideas, he focused more on Western European harmonies and topics.   This won him praise, but also much criticism.  In fact, Tchaikovsky always took “his own path,” and was often isolated and depressed during his life. 

    Despite his depression, Tchaikovsky was a respected and productive composer.  He wrote symphonies, operas, ballets and concertos for strings and piano.   His most famous works are considered The 1812 Overture, The Nutcracker Suite, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Marche Slave, and Capriccio Italien.   

    Tchaikovksy died at age 53 in 1893 as the result of an intestinal infection (probably from contaminated water or food).  His music remains popular even today.   




     Map of Votkinsk, Russia 

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