Russian jurist (b. 1841; d. 1902), born Avgust Antonovich Gerke (Август Антонович Герке).
The son of the pianist and music professor Anton Avgustovich Gerke (1812–1870), Avgust was a contemporary of Tchaikovsky's at the Imperial School of Jurisprudence. He went on to become an attorney in the Saint Petersburg merchants' court (from 1869), an adviser to the Ministry of Justice (from 1890), and the head of the civil appeals division (from 1894), as well as being a member of the executive board of the Russian Musical Society.
Tchaikovsky's friendship with Gerke, formed in the 1850s at the School of Jurisprudence, endured for the rest of his life. His piano piece Tendres reproches (1893) is dedicated to Avgust Gerke. After Tchaikovsky's death, Gerke was a member of the committee formed to create a memorial in honour of the composer.
In 1893 Tchaikovsky dated his piano piece Tendres reproches — No. 3 of the Eighteen Pieces, Op. 72 — to Avgust Gerke.
Correspondence with Tchaikovsky
3 letters from Tchaikovsky to Avgust Gerke have survived, dating from 1887 to 1889, all of which have been translated into English on this website:
- Letter 3342 – 8/20 September 1887, from Saint Petersburg
- Letter 3972 – 9/21 November 1889, from Saint Petersburg
- Letter 3974 – 14/26 November 1889, from Saint Petersburg
44 letters from Gerke to the composer, dating from 1883 to 1893, are preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive.