Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильич Чайковский)(7th May 1840-6th November 1893; Old Style 25th April 1840–25th October 1893) was a Russian composer. He wrote some of the world's most popular concert and theatrical music in the current classical repertoire, including the ballets Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, the 1812 Overture, his First Piano Concerto, several symphonies, and the opera Eugene Onegin. His names are also transliterated Piotr, Petr, or Peter Ilitsch, Ilich, Il'ich or Illyich; and Tschaikowski, Tschaikowsky, Chajkovskij and Chaikovsky (and other versions; Russian transliteration varies between languages).
Tchaikovsky was born in Kamsko-Votkinsk, Russia, to a mining engineer and the second of his three wives, a Russian woman of French ancestry. Musically precocious, he began piano lessons at the age of five. He obtained an excellent general education at the School of Jurisprudence and was a civil servant before entering the St Petersburg Conservatory from 1862 (the year of its foundation) to 1865. In 1866, he was appointed professor of theory and harmony at the Moscow Conservatory, established that year. He held the post until approximately 1878.
From 1878, Tchaikovsky focused primarily on composition. Tchaikovsky toured the United States in 1891 conducting performances of his works. In 1893, Tchaikovsky was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from Cambridge University.
Tchaikovsky died nine days after the premiere of the Sixth Symphony, the "Pathétique". Most of his biographers have considered his death to have been caused by cholera, most probably contracted through drinking contaminated water several days earlier. In recent decades, however, various theories have been advanced by some sources that his death was a suicide. However, these theories have not yet been substantiated with proof.