Musical Musings

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky and the Ladies

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was a Russian composer whose music and lifestyle was much gossiped about. For starters, we don't truly know how he died. He either died from drinking un-boiled water tainted with Cholera, his physicians killed him, or he killed himself slowly with arsenic as he was gay in a time and place that didn't accept it.

We will never truly know (though, our bet is on Cholera).

As a gay man, his relationships with women were quite complex. In 1877, he began a lengthy correspondence with an older woman who provided for him financially for 13 years and whose only stipulation was that they never meet. (Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, huh?)

Nazedha von MeckIndeed, Tchaikovsky couldn't bring himself to utter one word to his benefactress, Nazedha von Meck, the one time they met in a chance encounter. Nowadays, we would call them online lovers.

Over the year, they exchanged some 1,200 letters. The two were also connected through family: Tchaikovsky's niece Anna married von Meck's son Nikolai. This union was arranged by von Meck and Tchaikovsky themselves, however it was an unhappy arrangement. Interestingly, Tchaikovsky and von Meck died within two months of each other.

Antonina Miliukova1877 was a big year for Tchaikovsky. The same year that he began corresponding with von Meck, he hastily married a highly unstable woman, Antonina Miliukova, who wrote him loads of fan mail. (There's still hope for you Justin Timberlake fans — keep writing!)

There must have been a big misunderstanding: he thought she knew he was gay and that their marriage would be strictly platonic. When he realized this was not the case, his distress caused a near nervous breakdown. Two weeks after the marriage he attempted suicide. She eventually died in an insane asylum 24 years later. But, they never officially divorced.

Too bad Reality Television didn't exist at the turn of the century, or else we would all be watching Keeping Up with Tchaikovsky on E!

Give to the
Annual Fund

Gifts to the Annual Fund ensure that Sarasota Orchestra can continue to share the gift of music with our community through concerts, education and outreach programs. Please join us by making a donation today. Together, we can keep the music playing, now and always.

Don't Miss These
Special Events

Join us to celebrate our 75th Anniversary at these exciting events.

Dinner Series
Six Dinners throughout the season

Orchestra Brunch
Sunday, November 12, 2023

Celebrate 75 Concert and Gala
Thursday, February 15, 2024


Contact Us


709 N Tamiami Tr, Sarasota, FL 34236


Box Office: 941.953.3434
Administration: 941.953.4252

 Box Office Hours:

Our Box Office staff are available to assist you in person, by phone, or by email on Monday - Friday, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.

Box Office Information
 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About Us

Our mission is to engage, educate, and enrich our community through high-quality, live musical experiences.


Sarasota Orchestra is committed to making our performances and facilities accessible to everyone in our community.

All of the Orchestra’s facilities are accessible to persons using wheelchairs.

Assistive listening devices are available for all Orchestra performances.