Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky —
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is widely considered the most popular Russian composer in history. His work includes the The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's work was first publicly performed in 1865, with Johann Strauss the Younger conducting Tchaikovsky's Characteristic Dances at a Pavlovsk concert. In 1868, Tchaikovsky's First Symphony was well-received when it was publicly performed in Moscow. The following year, his first opera,The Voyevoda, made its way to the stage—with little fanfare.
After scrapping The Voyevoda, Tchaikovsky repurposed some of its material to compose his next opera, Oprichnik, which achieved some acclaim when it was performed at the Maryinsky in St. Petersburg in 1874. By this time, Tchaikovsky had also earned praise for his Second Symphony. Also in 1874, his opera, Vakula the Smith, received harsh critical reviews, yet Tchaikovsky still managed to establish himself as a talented composer of instrumental pieces with his Piano Concerto No.1 in B-flat Minor.
Acclaim came readily for Tchaikovsky in 1875, with his compositionSymphony No. 3 in D Major. At the end of that year, the composer embarked on a tour of Europe. In 1876, he completed the ballet Swan Lake as well as the fantasy Francesca da Rimini.
Tchaikovsky resigned from the Moscow Conservatory in 1878 to focus his efforts entirely on composing. As a result, he spent the remainder of his career composing more prolifically than ever. His collective body of work constitutes 169 pieces, including symphonies, operas, ballets, concertos, cantatas and songs. Among his most famed late works are the ballets The Sleeping Beauty (1890) and The Nutcracker (1892).