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Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:

Ballet is a theatrical performance that tells a story using music, costumes, sets, and dance. Victoria Morgan, artistic director of the Cincinnati Ballet, talks with Naomi Lewin about ballet and ballet terms.

Music heard in this episode:
Delibes: Coppelia
Rameau: Castor and Pollux
Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty
Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker

Other shows about Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky:
About Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
The Nutcracker
Traditional Christmas Classical Music

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About Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
5/7/1840 - 11/6/1893
Born in Russia

Piotr (or Peter, as we would say in English) Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk, a town in Russia's Ural Mountains. When he was 8 years old, his family moved to the capital city of St. Petersburg. Even though Tchaikovsky was a good musician as a kid, that wasn't considered an "acceptable" profession, so his parents made him study law instead.

But even in law school, Tchaikovsky continued to study music. Eventually, he gave up his legal job and went to the St. Petersburg Conservatory. After he graduated, he moved to Moscow to teach at the new conservatory there. It's now named for him.

For years, Tchaikovsky had a patroness named Nadezhda von Meck -- a wealthy widow who was a big fan of Tchaikovsky's music. She regularly sent him money so that he could concentrate on composing without having to worry about making a living. But Nadezhda von Meck didn't want to meet Tchaikovsky. For 14 years, they only communicated by writing letters to each other. Tchaikovsky dedicated his Fourth Symphony to his patroness.

Tchaikovsky traveled all over Europe for performances of his music. In 1891, he even came to America for the opening of Carnegie Hall, where he was invited to conduct his music.

See other composers born in Russia


This Week's Quiz:

1. Which of the following is NOT a ballet by Tchaikovsky?

The Nutcracker

Swan Lake

Sleeping Beauty

Appalachian Spring

2.A ballet is a performance with music, costumes and sets that tells a story through dance.



3. How many ballets did Tchaikovsky write?







Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
The Nutcracker

Composed in 1891
Performed by Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava)
Ondrej Lenard, conductor

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