In 1858 he resigned his civil service post to study music theory in Leipzig with Richter and Hauptmann, and later took lessons from Liszt in Rome. In 1870 he was appointed honorary librarian to the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, and the following year became its director. He was also chairman of the board of the Saint Petersburg branch of the Russian Musical Society from 1870 to 1876, when ill health forced his resignation from both posts.
Correspondence with Tchaikovsky
2 letters from Tchaikovsky to Mikhail Azanchevsky have survived, dating from 1871 and 1875, both of which have been translated into English on this website: