Avgust Gerke

Tchaikovsky Research
Avgust Gerke (1841-1902)

Russian jurist (b. 11/23 November 1841 in Saint Petersburg; died 27 February/12 March 1902 in Saint Petersburg), born Avgust Antonovich Gerke (Август Антонович Герке), also referred to in some sources as August Ferdinand Martin von Gercke.

The son of the pianist and music professor Anton Avgustovich Gerke (1812–1870), Avgust was a contemporary of Tchaikovsky's at the Imperial School of Jurisprudence. He went on to become an attorney in the Saint Petersburg merchants' court (from 1869), an adviser to the Ministry of Justice (from 1890), and the head of the civil appeals division (from 1894), as well as being a member of the executive board of the Russian Musical Society.

Tchaikovsky's friendship with Gerke, formed in the 1850s at the School of Jurisprudence, endured for the rest of his life. His piano piece Tendres reproches (1893) is dedicated to Avgust Gerke. After Tchaikovsky's death, Gerke was a member of the committee formed to create a memorial in honour of the composer.


In 1893, Tchaikovsky dedicated his piano piece Tendres reproches — No. 3 of the Eighteen Pieces, Op. 72 — "à Mr. Auguste Gerke".

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

3 letters from Tchaikovsky to Avgust Gerke have survived, dating from 1887 to 1889, all of which have been translated into English on this website:

44 letters from Gerke to the composer, dating from 1883 to 1893, are preserved in the Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve at Klin (a4, Nos. 550–593).

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