History Quiz: Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky
December 7, 2023

Read up on Tchaikovsky here, then test your students’ knowledge with this quiz! 

1. What was Tchaikovsky’s greatest contribution to the world of dance music?

2. The Nutcracker was unconventional for its time because:

A) The lack of dancing in Act I

B) The use of children in leading roles

C) It didn’t have an ending plot resolution

D) All of the above

3. True or False: The flow of self-emotion that can be heard and felt through his orchestrations was entirely new to Russian music of that era.

4. Tchaikovsky was chosen to conduct the inaugural concert for the opening of what American music institution in 1891?

5. Tchaikovsky was the first composer to use the ____ an instrument he discovered in Paris while writing The Nutcracker that became the tinkling sound for the ______.

6. While there are now many versions of The Nutcracker, what one element of the original ballet still remains intact in most reproductions and why?

7. In addition to his three ballets, he also created a score of operas, concertos, symphonies, and chamber music.

Name three of his most recognizable works. BONUS. Name a famous work that Balanchine later created to one of Tchaikovsky’s pieces of music, not originally intended for ballet.

Answer Key

1. He broke the mold of the relationship between music and dance; the ballet’s score no longer served as background music to the dance.; 2. D; 3. True; 4. New York’s Carnegie Hall; 5. Celesta; Sugar Plum Fairy; 6. Tchaikovsky’s original score: It’s a perfect score for the story of the ballet and tampering with it would break the intended flow.; 7. Eugene Onegin, 1812 Overture, Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture and Symphony No. 6; the Pathetique; BONUS: Suite No. 4, Op. 61 in Mozartiana; Suite No. 3 for Orchestra in Theme and Variations; and Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 75 in Allegro Brillante.

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