Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky lived from 1840 to 1893. A Russian composer, he originally went to school to train as a civil servant. At a young age, his love for and interest in music was supported by his parents. Both had training in music as was common at the time. His family had a long history of military service and with the possibility of being posted to remote areas of Russia, it was normal for people to have some training in the arts in order to provide themselves with some form of entertainment if they were located far away from a larger city.

While he did take music lessons, Tchaikovsky entered his civil service training at the age of 10 most likely because his family wanted him to have a secure job and stable future. He graduated and obtained his first job at the age of 19. He had continued his interest in music over the years – taking private lessons at times, attending the opera with fellow students. At that point in time, a formal public music education program did not exist in Russia. The St. Petersburg Conservatory had not yet been founded. In 1861, Tchaikovsky attended some classes that would end up becoming the start of the St. Petersburg Conservatory. 1862 marks the start of the Conservatory and Tchaikovsky was part of the inaugural class.

For his first year of study, he kept his civil servant job as well, perhaps wanting to feel sure that he could make a career in the field of music. He did eventually leave his job and continued his studies until 1865. And went on to compose beautiful music until his death in 1893.


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