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Calm Radio, Toronto, Canada. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (May 7, 1840 – November 6, 1893) was a Russian composer whose works included symphonies, operas, ballets, and chamber music. Some of these rate amongst the most popular concert and theatrical music in the classical repertoire. Tchaikovsky was educated for a career as a civil servant. Against the wishes of his family, he pursued a musical career and entered the Saint Petersburg Conservatory from which he graduated in 1865.