Photo of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky sitting in a chair

Peter Tchaikovsky Quotes

Peter Tchaikovsky, the famous Russian composer of the 1800s, is best known in our times for his ballets, most significantly, the Nutcracker, which is performed annually by many ballet companies in the United States and Europe. His influence on Russian music in particular and Western classical music overall is immense. Tchaikovsky was known for beautiful melodies, extraordinarily colorful orchestration, and a musical language encompassing the full spectrum of human emotions.

Image: Photo of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky sitting in a chair

“The creative process is like music which takes root with extraordinary force and rapidity.”

“Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.”

“A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood.” 

“As regards the Russian element in my works, I may tell you that not infrequently I begin a composition with the intention of introducing some folk melody into it. Sometimes it comes out its own accord, (unbidden as in the finale of our symphony). As to this national element in my work, its affinity with the folk songs in some of my melodies and harmonies comes from my having spent my childhood in the country, and, from my earliest years, have been impregnated with the characteristic beauty of our Russian folk music. I am passionately fond of the national element in all its varied expressions. In a word, I am Russian in the fullest sense of the word.”

“To regret the past, to hope in the future, and never to be satisfied with the present: that is what I spend my whole life doing”

“I sit down to the piano regularly at nine-o’clock in the morning and Mesdames les Muses have learned to be on time for that rendezvous.” 

“It is already a great thing if the main ideas and general outline of a work come without any racking of brains, as the result of that supernatural and inexplicable force we call inspiration.” 

I never compose in the abstract; this is to say, the musical thought never appears otherwise than in a suitable external form. In this way I invented the musical idea and the instrumentation simultaneously.”

-Peter Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

To read the full bio of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, click this link.

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Richard J. Chandler, BA, MA Bachelor of Arts-Music & Master of Arts-Psychology