Tchaikovsky Research
Revision as of 20:29, 8 January 2023 by Tony (talk | contribs) (→‎1891)
See also Chronological List of Works.

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



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


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




  • He begins to write poetry at school.


  • 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.



  • 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.



  • 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 School's choir.



  • 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.


  • He starts piano lessons with Rudolf Kündinger.


  • 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.


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


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


  • 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.


  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.






  • 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.


  • February – He starts work on his third opera, The Oprichnik.
  • 4 March/16 March – 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.
  • June–August – 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.






















  • 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.



  • 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.