Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Kamsko-Votkinsk, Russia, on May 7, 1840. He was introduced to music at age 5. His father was a Ukrainian mining engineer and his wife, his second, was of French ancestry. He went to school at the School of Jurisprudence and was a civil servant till 1861 when he entered Saint Petersburg Conservatory and graduated in 1865. In 1866 he was appointed professor of theory and harmony at Moscow Conservatory, which was established that year. He continued teaching there till around 1878.
After the woman Tchaikovsky loved married another man, he made up his mind that whoever loved him he would marry. Around that time Antonina Milyukova was writing him very passionate letters. Even though he didn't remember her from his classes, they hastily married on July 18, 1877. Very soon afterward, within days even, he regretted the decision. Two weeks after the wedding, he attempted to commit suicide by wading in a cold river.
After that didn't work, he fled to Saint Petersburg, only six weeks after they had been married. They never saw each other, but never divorced. After Tchaikovsky died a married man, his widow died in an insane asylum 24 years later.
The more "woman of his life" was Madame Nadezhda von Meck. Between 1877 and 1890 he exchanged around 1,200 letters with her. She insisted that they never meet but they did encounter each other on 2 separate occasions, but never talked. She was a wealthy woman and sent him about 6000 rubles each year, equal to $209.88 which was a lot of money in the 1800s. She greatly admired his music. However though, after 14 years she ended the relationship very suddenly, claiming bankruptcy. It is widely disregarded though. It was this period, 1891 and on, that Tchaikovsky...