Varvara Maslova

Tchaikovsky Research
Varvara Maslova (1839-1905)

Sister of Tchaikovsky's schoolfriend Fyodor Maslov (b. 1839; d. 1905), born Varvara Ivanovna Maslova (Варвара Ивановна Маслова).

Varvara was the eldest of the five Maslov siblings. She read a lot and was proficient in German, English, and French. She was very keen on painting as well, and in her spare time she would decorate ceramics and do poker-work. At the age of 42, she decided to enrol in the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture, where she studied under Vladimir Makovsky and was in the same class as Lev Tolstoy's daughter, Tatyana, who, despite being twenty-five years younger, became a close friend.

During the summer months from 1880 to 1885 Varvara helped the composer Sergey Taneyev, a regular guest at the Maslovs' estate Selishche, in Oryol province, to translate Ludwig Bussler's famous textbook on counterpoint from German into Russian.


In 1893, Tchaikovsky dedicated his piano piece Impromptu — No. 1 of the Eighteen Pieces, Op. 72 — "à Melle. Barbe Massloff".

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

2 letters from Tchaikovsky to Varvara Maslova have survived, dating from 1882 and 1891, and have both been translated into English on this website:

One letter from Varvara Maslova to Tchaikovsky, dating from 1888, is preserved in the Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve at Klin (a4, No. 2387).


  • Tamara Slutskaya, "«Очень хочется в Селище...» (Танеев и семья Масловых)" in E. V. Fetisova (ed.), Новое о Танееве (Moscow, 2007), p. 57–69