Pyotr Tchaikovsky was born in a noble family in Votkinsk, Vyatka province. The father of the future composer, mining engineer Ilya Tchaikovsky, was the director of the local factory, and his mother, Alexander Assier, was the pianist. The family had four more children besides Pyotr. The boy studied well, his favorite subjects were history and literature. As a child, Pyotr Tchaikovsky began to write poetry, and then became interested in music. To develop the abilities of the future composer, his parents hired him a teacher - the former serf Maria Palchikova. Soon, Tchaikovsky began to pick up by ear the pieces and romances that were played at his home.
In 1848, the composer's father Ilya Tchaikovsky resigned and moved to Moscow with his family and then to Petersburg. There, Pyotr Tchaikovsky was sent to the Imperial School of Law - parents wanted him to get legal education. However, at the same time, the future composer continued to study music. Together with his mother, Tchaikovsky often visited ballet and opera performances at the Bolshoi Theater and the Mariinsky Theater.
At the school, Tchaikovsky met and made friends with the poet Alexei Apukhtin. Together they published the journal The School Bulletin, where they printed their poems and articles. The future composer read a lot; in addition, he studied in the choir at the school. At the same time, his father hired the future composer a new teacher - a professional pianist Rudolf Kündinger, with whom young man studied for about three years.
In 1859, Tchaikovsky graduated from the Imperial College of Law. He had excellent marks almost in all subjects in his certificate. Thus, the Ministry of Justice hired the future composer.
On the advice of his father, Tchaikovsky combined his service and music. Since September 1861, he attended the classes of Anton Rubinstein at the Russian Music Society (RMO), and in 1862, he became one of the first students of the newly opened St. Petersburg Conservatory. His service was not very successful at that time. The position of the official for special missions, which the composer reckoned upon was given to another employee of the ministry, and in 1863, he quit and concentrated on creativity.
The composer graduated from the conservatory in 1865 with the highest award - a large silver medal and the title of “a free-lance artist”. At the beginning of 1866, at the invitation of Nikolai Rubinstein, brother of the composer Anton Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky moved from St. Petersburg to Moscow to teach at the newly created music courses, which soon were transformed into the Moscow Conservatory. Every year he had about ninety students. Tchaikovsky was a demanding teacher.
At the same time, Tchaikovsky was engaged in creativity: he composed the first symphony "Winter Dreams". He performed it in St. Petersburg at a concert of the Russian Musical Society in early 1868. The audience met the symphony with approval, although the composer's teacher Anton Rubinstein criticized it.
Soon, at the Aristocratic Club, Tchaikovsky met and became friends with playwright Alexander Ostrovsky. While studying at the Conservatory, the composer wrote an overture based on his play The Storm. However, the playwright suggested that Tchaikovsky write music to his other work - the comedy “Voivode, or Dream on the Volga”. Ostrovsky himself wrote the libretto for this opera. “The Voivode” premiered at the Bolshoi Theater in 1869. The audience met the opera well, and critics wrote that the music does not mix well with the libretto. The composer destroyed almost the entire musical score of the opera.
In the same years, Tchaikovsky was acquainted with critic Vladimir Stasov and members of the Mighty Handful Association. On the advice of Miliy Balakirev, he began to write program music - instrumental works without words. For the new overture, the composer took the plot of William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Romeo and Juliet”. Tchaikovsky finished it quickly - in two months. For the first time, the composer performed "Romeo and Juliet" in 1870 at the regular concert of the Russian Musical Society.
At this time, Tchaikovsky suffer financial problems. To earn money, he began to write for the newspapers "Russian Vedomosti" and "Contemporary Chronicle." The composer's articles on musical pieces were popular and controversial. The composer worked in those newspapers until 1875.
In the early 1870s, Tchaikovsky worked on the new opera “The Oprichnik” based on the tragedy by Ivan Lazhechnikov. The composer finished the work by 1872, however, for several years he could not achieve its premiere at the Mariinsky Theater. As a result, he had to come to Petersburg. There he met with the members of The Mighty Handful and at one of their meetings performed the Second Symphony. Vladimir Stasov approved the work and suggested that Tchaikovsky compose another symphonic fantasy, and take its plot from literature - Shakespeare's works. The composer wrote a work based on the play “The Tempest”. The premiere of the symphonic fantasy at the new concert of the Russian Musical Society was a great success. For this composition, Tchaikovsky was awarded with a laurel wreath and silver goblet.
In April 1874, “The Oprichnik” was first staged at the Mariinsky Theater. However, critics once again found flaws in Tchaikovsky's work. Nevertheless, already in the same year, “The Oprichnik” was staged in Odessa, and then in Kiev. Tchaikovsky himself came to the premiere to this city. In 1875, “The Oprichnik” was staged in Moscow at the Bolshoi Theater, and soon the government banned the opera - censors found revolutionary traces in it. The same year, by order of the publisher of the magazine Nouvellist M. Bernard Pyotr Tchaikovsky wrote the piano cycle "Seasons".
The next major work by Tchaikovsky was the opera “Eugene Onegin” he began to work on it in 1877. The singer Elizabeth Lavrovskaya proposed this idea to the composer, and Konstantin Shilovsky wrote the libretto. Tchaikovsky worked on the opera in his estate Glebovo near Moscow.
In 1877, the composer met the philanthropist, the widow of the railway industrialist Nadezhda von Meck. She financed Tchaikovsky’s travel to Europe and paid him six thousand rubles annually. This amount was twice as much as his salary at the Moscow Conservatory, and he soon left his job and focused on creative work.
Tchaikovsky again went abroad and settled in Switzerland. There he finished the opera “Eugene Onegin” and proceeded with the Fourth Symphony. Tchaikovsky created it under the influence of the Fifth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven. Like Beethoven, the composer reflected on the clash of a person and fate. Nikolai Rubinstein performed the symphony at the concert of the Russian Musical Society in Moscow in 1878. Soon, the opera “Eugene Onegin” successfully premiered as well.
Since the late 1870s, Tchaikovsky’s works were performed not only in Russia, but abroad as well - in France and the USA. The composer began concerting in Europe. At the same time, he worked on new works - the ballet “Swan Lake”, the opera “The Maid of Orleans” and the fantasy “Italian Capriccio”. In 1880, Tchaikovsky composed the solemn overture "1812" in commemoration of the victory over Napoleon, for which he received the Order of Saint Vladimir of the fourth grade from the Russian government.
In the 1880s, Tchaikovsky traveled in Europe, attended concerts of Edward Grieg, Hans von Bülow, Arthur Nikisch and other composers, with whom he was in correspondence. His fame in Russia was growing at that time. In 1885, Tchaikovsky became a member of the Directors board of the Russian Musical Society and headed its Moscow branch. There, the composer could help novice musicians and select musical works for the RMS concerts.
The same year, Tchaikovsky bought the Maidanovo estate near the town of Klin, not far from Moscow. In Maidanovo, the composer wrote the operas “Cherevichki” and “The Enchantress”, the symphony “Manfred”. Tchaikovsky lived in solitude, he did not receive petitioners. Only close friends came to visit the composer - Nadezhda von Meck and music publisher Peter Jürgenson.
In 1887, Tchaikovsky moved from Maidanovo to the Frolovskoe estate. He went on his first tour in Europe the same year. He visited the cities of Germany, France and the UK. There Tchaikovsky played the ballet “Swan Lake”, the overture of Ruslan and Lyudmila, the first concert for piano and orchestra and other works. After returning to Russia, the composer began working on the Fifth Symphony, in which he wanted to express "a purely personal feeling of a passing life and the fear of death". The premiere of the symphony took place in November 1888 in St. Petersburg and caused controversy criticism.
In 1889, Tchaikovsky went on a second tour, after which he decided to stay in Europe for a short time. He settled in Italy - lived in Florence and Rome. There, at the request of the Imperial Theaters’ director, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, he wrote his new opera – “The Queen of Spades”, based on the eponymous novel by Alexander Pushkin.
The premiere of "The Queen of Spades" was held in 1890 in St. Petersburg. Almost immediately, the opera was staged abroad - in Prague and Vienna. The same year, another premiere was successfully held - Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Sleeping Beauty” based on the fairy tale by Charles Perrault.
In 1891, Tchaikovsky went on tour to the United States, where he gave a concert at the opening of Carnegie Hall in New York. The audience received the composer warmly, and American newspapers wrote about him: "Tchaikovsky conducts with impressive mastery, and the orchestra obeys him as a single person".
The same year, Tchaikovsky once again moved. He left the Frolovskoe estate and settled in Klin. There he worked on the opera “Iolanta” based on the play by Henrik Hertz, King René's Daughter, and the ballet “The Nutcracker”. Their premiere took place on December 6, 1892 at the Mariinsky Theater.
Immediately after Tchaikovsky began creating a new work, the Sixth Symphony. He wrote it in less than six months - the score was completed by August 1893.
By 1893, Pyotr Tchaikovsky was world famous. In Great Britain, he was awarded with an honorary doctorate from the University of Cambridge, and his operas were successfully performed in Germany and France. In 1894, the composer planned a new tour.
At the end of October 1893, a cholera pestilence began in St. Petersburg. Tchaikovsky was also infected. The composer died on November 6, 1893. By personal order of Emperor Alexander III, Pyotr Tchaikovsky was buried in the Alexander Nevsky Lavra in the Necropolis of masters of arts at the expense of the treasury.Source: https://www.culture.ru/persons/8307/petr-chaikovskii