Born in Kamsko-Votkinsk on 7 May 1840, Tchaikovsky was the second eldest of six children. In 1850 he began attending the St. Petersburg School of Jurisprudence, becoming a clerk in the Ministry of Justice in 1859. He studied with Nicolai Zaremba until the opening of the new St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1862. In 1863 he left his job at the Ministry of Justice to study full time at the Conservatory.
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