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    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

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    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93) was born in Votkinsk, a town in Russia’s Ural Mountains. Now regarded as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic period, his life almost took a very different turn.

    Tchaikovsky’s parents believed that music was not a respectable career path and made him pursue a degree in law instead. To make things worse, Tchaikovsky did not show any particular talent in music at a young age and his piano teacher later said that if she had had even an inkling of what a great musician he would become she would have kept a record of all of their lessons. Fortunately, he had the courage to pursue music and after his late start, he managed to earn a living by securing a teaching job at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and later the Moscow Conservatory, which is now named after him. 

    He also survived through the generous benefaction of his patron, Nadezhda von Meck. Von Meck was a wealthy widow who was a huge fan of Tchaikovsky’s music and though a strong friendship was formed through letters exchanged between patron and benefactor, it came with a curious condition – von Meck and Tchaikovsky were never to meet each other in person. Von Meck did not wish to have her vision of her ideal composer tarnished and Tchaikovsky agreed. The arrangement worked and we have years of beautiful music to enjoy as the fruit of it.

    Tchaikovsky composed predominantly instrumental music and even played a part in expanding the orchestra by creating the celesta for one of his ballets, which is an orchestral instrument that is still used today. Later in life, Tchaikovsky rightly enjoyed great acclaim for his music and his music still holds a beloved place in the repertoire today.

    Andrea Sim
    Andrea Sim
    Andrea Sim is the music director and principal conductor of the klpac String Orchestra. A seasoned orchestral violinist, she has led and played solo with numerous orchestras and plays regularly with various chamber groups. Andrea graduated with first class honours on a full scholarship from UCSI University’s Institute of Music with a Bachelor of Classical Music (Hons) degree.
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