Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk, a grim industrial Russian town half way between Moscow and the Ural mountains.
Pyotr was a withdrawn child, who was affected by abnormal insensitivity. He sought refuge in music from an early age and began piano lessons at the age of five showing remarkable gifts.
In 1866, Tchaikovsky was appointed professor of theory and harmony at the Moscow Conservatory, which had been established that year. He held the post until 1877 when his patron, Nadezhda von Meck, gave him an annual allowance which enabled him to give up teaching and became a full time composer.
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