Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a romantic composer noted for his expressive melodies and rich orchestrations. He is the first well-known Russian composer. His music has always been loved by the concert-going public for its beauty, and stirring emotions.

Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk, near the Urals, the son of a Russian mining engineer and a delicate French epileptic mother. He trained initially as a lawyer in St Petersburg, but disliked life in the Civil Service, and at the age of 22 he enrolled in the Music Conservatory at St Petersburg. He was encouraged and influenced by pianist Nikolay Rubenstein.

He was torn in life between a desire for normality, and his homosexual nature. This is reflected in his music, swinging from melancholy to exuberant optimism.

Famous compositions include Romeo & Juliet and 1812 Overtures, the Pathetique (6th) Symphony and his 5th Symphony, his magnificent Piano Concerto in Bb minor, his Violin Concerto,3 ballet scores (Swan Lake, Nutcracker, and Sleeping Beauty).