Vladimir Stasov

Tchaikovsky Research
Vladimir Stasov (1824-1906), in an 1873 portrait by Ilya Repin

Russian art historian and critic (b. 2/14 January 1824 in Saint Petersburg; d. 10/23 October 1906 in Saint Petersburg), born Vladimir Vasilyevich Stasov (Владимир Васильевич Стасов).

Tchaikovsky and Stasov

The son of the architect Vasily Petrovich Stasov (1769–1848), he graduated from the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in 1843, and was admitted to the Imperial Academy of Arts in 1859. He sought to rid art and music of western influences, and was a mentor to the group of nationalistic composers known as "The Five". He considered Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 2 (1872) to be "one of the most important creations of the entire Russian school", and encouraged the young composer to write his fantasia The Tempest (1873), which is dedicated to Stasov. Although the two men retained a deep mutual respect, Stasov was disappointed that Tchaikovsky continued to follow western traditions in many of his compositions.

From 1872 Stasov was director of the arts section of the Saint Petersburg Public Library, and in 1884 he asked Tchaikovsky to donate the manuscripts of his works to that institution (a suggestion welcomed by the composer, but thwarted by his publisher, Pyotr Jurgenson).

Stasov was made an honorary fellow of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1900. He died on 10/23 October 1906 in Saint Petersburg, and is buried in the city's Aleksandr Nevsky cemetery.


As noted above, Tchaikovsky dedicated his symphonic fantasia The Tempest, Op. 18 (1873), to Vladimir Stasov.

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

22 letters from Tchaikovsky to Vladimir Stasov have survived, dating from 1873 to 1893, of which those highlighted in bold have been translated into English on this website:

21 letters from Stasov to Tchaikovsky have survived, dating from 1874 to 1893, of which 19 are preserved in the National Library of Russia in Saint Petersburg, and 2 in the Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve at Klin (a4, Nos. 4205–4206).


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