Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was the greatest Russian composer of the Romantic period, his works were already known beyond Russia’s borders during his lifetime.
The expression of his emotionally deep music, Russian drama and playfulness, combined with the Western musical tradition, combine to create a unique musical world. Tchaikovsky did not belong to the “Group of Five” (the “Novators” or “The Mighty Group”, with Balakirew, Borodin, Cui, Mussorgsky und Rimsky-Korsakov), but continued the school of Anton Rubinstein. Tchaikovsky was a close friend of the Norwegian romantic Edvard Grieg.
His most famous works are the 5th Symphony in E Minor op. 64, the 6th Symphony in B Minor op. 74 Pathétique, the Violin Concerto in D Major op. 35, his Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor op. 23, the Ouverture solennelle 1812, Festival Overture op. 49 and his opera Eugen Onegin.
Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker are among the three most famous ballets in the history of music. The Dance of the Sugar Fairy and the Flower Waltz (from "The Nutcracker"), for example, are absolute world hits of the classical music scene.
Tchaikovsky’s secret homosexuality was a very great agony for him, and so his marriage was problematic. He died unexpectedly at the age of 53, the cause of death could not be clearly determined (until today).