Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Votinsk, Russia, and was initially trained in music by a French governess. He briefly held a career as a government, but in 1961 entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory to study composition. His output includes a wide array of musical forms, from operas and sumphonies to ballet scores and concertos. He is best known for his final three smphonies; his concertos for piano and violin; the three ballets THe Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty; the tone poems Romeo and Juliet and Francesca da Rimini and the celebrated 1812. Another of his operas experiencing a renaissance in recent years in Pique Dame (The Queen of Spades).