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* 7th May 1840 in Kamsko-Wotkinski Sawod, today Russia

† 6th November 1893 in St. Petersburg, today Russia

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was the most important Russian composer of the 19th century, and is regarded as the epitome of Romanticism. He composed works in almost all areas of music. His most famous compositions include symphonies, violin concerto in D, first piano concerto, the 1812 Overture, and his opera Eugene Onegin. His ballets Swan Lake (1877), Sleeping Beauty (1890), and The Nutcracker (1892) are among the most famous works in the history of music, and are still performed to this day.

As a conductor, he undertook several concert tours to Europe and America. In 1877, despite his homosexual orientation, Tchaikovsky married Antonina Miljukowa, whom he hardly knew. They separated after only a few weeks together.

In 1877, Tchaikovsky began a 13-year correspondence with his friend Nadeschda Filaretowna von Meck, who became his patroness, supporting him with a yearly stipend, so he could focus on his compositions.

After a period of failure, he also succeeded as a conductor.

In 1893 (the year of his death), Tchaikovsky composed his sixth symphony Pathétique, which he directed himself at the premiere on the 28th of October.

In letters to his brother, he shared his romantic affairs. He wrote: ”I am as in love as I have not been for a long time… […] when I hold his hand for hours, it torments me not to fall at his feet […] the passion seizes me with mighty power, my voice trembles like that of a youth, and I can only speak nonsense.“

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