Chronology

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See also Chronological List of Works.

The following is adapted from the chronology published in The Tchaikovsky Handbook, volume 1 (2002), pages xxxi-xli.

1840

1841

  • 28 December/9 January 1842 – Birth of his sister Aleksandra ("Sasha").

1843

  • 10 April/22 April – Birth of his brother Ippolit.

1844

1845

1847

  • He begins to write poetry at school.

1848

  • September – Fanny Dürbach leaves her position as governess, and the Tchaikovsky family moves from Votkinsk to Moscow.
  • November – His family moves to Saint Petersburg, where Tchaikovsky is sent to a boarding school and continues his music lessons with a private teacher.

1849

1850

  • 1 May/13 May – Birth of his twin brothers Anatoly ("Tolya") and Modest ("Modya").
  • 22 August/3 September – He sees a production of Mikhail Glinka's opera A Life for the Tsar, which makes a lasting impression.
  • September – He enrols in the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in Saint Petersburg.
  • October – He sees a production of Adolphe Adam's ballet Giselle, with Carlotta Grisi.

1851

1852

  • May – His family moves from Alapayevsk to join him in Saint Petersburg.
  • summer – He sings the soprano part of a coloratura duet from Rossini's Semiramide with his aunt Yekaterina Alekseyeva.
  • autumn – He takes part in a trio in the Liturgy at the School of Jurisprudence, and becomes an active participant in the Schools choir.

1853

1854

  • January – Marriage of his half-sister Zinayda to Yevgeny Olkhovsky.
  • 13 June/25 June – Death of his mother Aleksandra from cholera.
  • August – The Anastasie-valse is his earliest known attempt at written-down composition.

1855

  • He starts piano lessons with Rudolf Kündinger.

1856

  • While boarding at the boys-only School of Jurisprudence, the first signs of his innate homosexual sensibilities become apparent, and he becomes infatuated with his schoolfriend Sergey Kireyev.
  • He makes the acquaintance of the Italian singer and voice teacher Luigi Piccioli, who is the first person to recognize his musical talent and significantly influences his musical development.

1857

  • Under the influence of Piccioli, he becomes an enthusiastic admirer of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti. Mozart's Don Giovanni also has a profound impact.

1858

  • autumn – He makes his first attempt at conducting the school choir, at the request of singing master Gavryl Lomakin.

1859

  • 13 May/25 May – He graduates from the Imperial School of Jurisprudence.
  • June – He begins work as a civil servant in the Ministry of Justice.

1860

  • While employed at the Ministry of Justice, he becomes a ‘man-about-town', and enjoys operas, theatres and concerts in Saint Petersburg.
  • 6 November/18 November – His sister Aleksandra marries Lev Davydov and moves to her husband's family estate at Kamenka in the Ukraine.

1861

1862

  • 8 September/20 September – Birth of his eldest niece Tatyana ("Tanya"), to his sister Aleksandra.
  • He enrols as a student in the newly-opened Saint Petersburg Conservatory.
  • The song Mezza notte becomes his first published composition.

1863

  • spring – He attends all six of Richard Wagner's concerts in Saint Petersburg.
  • 11 April/23 April – He resigns from the Ministry of Justice to concentrate on studying music.
  • 16 May/28 May – He is deeply impressed by a performance of Aleksandr Serov's opera Judith.
  • summer – He stays with Aleksey Apukhtin at Pavlodar.
  • autumn – He resumes his study of music theory under Zaremba and begins composition classes with Anton Rubinstein.
  • winter – He starts to give private piano lessons.

1864

  • June–August – He spends his summer vacation from the conservatory with his society friend Aleksey Golitsyn at Trostinets in Ukraine. Here he writes his first orchestral piece, The Storm.
  • autumn – He meets the composer Aleksandr Serov in Saint Petersburg.
  • His brothers Anatoly and Modest learn of Tchaikovsky's homosexuality from their schoolfriends.

1865

1866

1867

1868

1869

  • January – He learns of Désirée Artôt's marriage to Mariano Padilla-y-Ramos.
  • January–July – He writes his second opera, Undina.
  • 30 January/11 February – Premiere of The Voyevoda at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
  • 15 February/27 February – Premiere of the symphonic fantasia Fatum in Moscow.
  • June – Marriage of his brother Ippolit to Sofya Nikonova.
  • autumn – He meets Mily Balakirev in Moscow, and under his influence writes the overture-fantasia Romeo and Juliet.
  • He begins a passionate friendship with the conservatory student Eduard Zak.

1870

  • February – He starts work on his third opera, The Oprichnik.
  • 4 March/16 March – The Premiere of Romeo and Juliet in Moscow passes almost unnoticed by the critics.
  • 16/28 March — Extracts from Undina are performed at a concert in Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre. The complete opera was never staged.
  • May – Undina is rejected by the directorate of the Imperial Theatres.
  • August June– – He revises Romeo and Juliet, at Balakirev's instigation.
  • June – He visits his sick friend Vladimir Shilovsky in Paris, then travels to Soden, and on to Mannheim for the Beethoven centennial festival.
  • July – He flees to Switzerland following the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War.
  • August – After staying at Interlaken, he visits Munich and Vienna on his way back to Moscow.

1871

1872

1873

1874

1875

1876

1877

1878

1879

1880

1881

1882

1883

1884

1885

1886

1887

1888

1889

1890

1891

  • January – At the request of his actor friend Lucien Guitry, he writes incidental music for Hamlet.
  • February – He starts work on the ballet The Nutcracker.
  • 9 February/21 February – Premiere of the incidental music to Hamlet in Moscow.
  • 24 March/5 April – He conducts a concert of his own works in Paris.
  • 29 March/10 April – Death of his sister Aleksandra.
  • 5/17–14/26 April – He crosses the Atlantic Ocean on the steamship La Bretagne.
  • 14 April/26 April – He arrives in New York at the start of his American tour, which also takes him to Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Baltimore, Washington and Philadelphia.
  • 23 April/5 May – He conducts his Coronation March at the opening concert of Andrew Carnegie's new Music Hall in New York.
  • 9 May/21 May – He leaves America bound for Hamburg on the Prince Bismarck.
  • 28 May/28 May – He returns to his former home at Maydanovo.
  • July–December – He works on the opera Iolanta.
  • 4 November/16 November – Moscow Premiere of The Queen of Spades.
  • 6 November/18 November – He conducts the premiere of the symphonic ballad The Voyevoda, and then attempts to destroy the score.
  • 21 December/2 January 1892 – He conducts an all-Tchaikovsky concert in Kiev.

1892

1893

  • 2 January/14 January – He conducts an all-Tchaikovsky concert in Brussels.
  • 12 January/24 January – He arrives in Odessa to conduct a series of concerts of his own works, and to have his portrait painted by Nikolay Kuznetsov.
  • 25 January/6 February – He leaves Odessa for Kamenka and Kharkov.
  • 3 February/15 February – He returns to Klin, where he starts to sketch the Symphony No. 6.
  • 11 March/23 March – He arrives in Kharkov to conduct concerts of his own works.
  • 18 March/30 March – He returns to Klin and resumes work on the Symphony No. 6.
  • 13 May/25 May – He departs for England via Germany.
  • 20 May/1 June – He conducts his Symphony No. 4 at a Royal Philharmonic Society concert in London.
  • 31 May/12 June – He conducts Francesca da Rimini at a concert in Cambridge.
  • 1 June/13 June – He receives an Honorary Doctorate of Music at Cambridge University, together with Boito, Saint-Saëns, Bruch, and Grieg (who is too ill to attend the ceremony).
  • 18 July/30 July – He returns home to Klin, where he begins converting the abandoned Symphony in E-flat major into the Piano Concerto No. 3.
  • August – He travels to Hamburg for a production of Iolanta.
  • 9 October/21 October – Premiere of the vocal quartet Night in Moscow, in the presence of the composer.
  • 10 October/22 October – He arrives in Saint Petersburg to stay at his brother Modest's apartment at 13 Malaya Morskaya Street.
  • 16 October/28 October – He conducts the premiere of the Symphony No. 6 in Saint Petersburg.
  • 20 October/1 November – He dines out at Leiner's restaurant with friends.
  • 21 October/2 November – He complains of stomach pains, and a doctor is called, who diagnoses cholera.
  • 22 October/3 November – Treatment begins, and he feels better.
  • 22 October/3 November–23 October/4 November – His condition gradually deteriorates.
  • 25 October/6 November – Tchaikovsky dies around 3 am local time (around 00.30 GMT) from complications arising from the cholera infection (uræmia and œdema of lungs).
  • 26 October/7 November–27 October/8 November – Requiem services and tributes are held throughout Russia.
  • 28 October/9 November – His funeral takes place in the Kazan Cathedral in Saint Petersburg. He is buried in Tikhvinsky Cemetery at the Aleksandr Nevsky Monastery.