Anton Arensky

Tchaikovsky Research
Anton Arensky (1861-1906)

Russian composer, conductor, and pianist (b. 30 June/12 July 1861 in Novgorod; d. 12/25 February 1906 at Perkijarvi, near Terijoki, Finland [now Zelenogorsk, Russia]), born Anton Stepanovich Arensky (Антон Степанович Аренский).

In 1882, Arensky graduated from the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, where he had studied composition under Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, and until 1894 he was a professor at the Moscow Conservatory, where his students included Sergei Rachmaninoff and Aleksandr Skriabin. From 1895 to 1901, he was director of the Imperial Chapel Choir in Saint Petersburg.


In 1894, Arensky dedicated his String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 35, to Tchaikovsky's memory. The second movement uses the melody of Legend — No. 5 of Tchaikovsky's Sixteen Songs for Children, Op. 54 (1884). Arensky later arranged this movement as a separate piece for string orchestra, entitled Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky, Op. 35a.

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

8 letters from Tchaikovsky to Anton Arensky have survived, dating from 1884 to 1891, of which those highlighted in bold have been translated into English on this website:

4 letters from Arensky to the composer, dating from 1886 to 1891, are preserved in the Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve at Klin (a4, Nos. 99–102).

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