Cousin of the composer (b. 1830; d. 1911), born Anna Petrovna Tchaikovskaya (Анна Петровна Чайковская); known during her first marriage as Anna Petrovna Yegorova (Анна Петровна Егорова), and after her second marriage as Anna Petrovna Merkling (Анна Петровна Мерклинг).
Anna was the oldest child of the composer's uncle Pyotr Petrovich Tchaikovsky (1789–1871) and his wife Yevdokia (b. Berens). She married a Mr Yegorov when she was quite young, but they were not happy together, and after the death of an infant daughter, they separated. Soon afterwards Anna married for the second time to a Guards' officer, Pyotr Ivanovich Merkling, by whom she had a daughter, Lyubov. However, she was not happy in this marriage either. Her new husband made no progress whatsoever in his military career, and he treated Anna badly. Because of his disagreeable character he was forced to leave his regiment, and on some whim he decided to join the police, accepting a lowly position. But even there he did not get on with his superiors, and he soon left the police as well. He eventually ended up working as a caretaker in a school in Saint Petersburg. Anna, who came from a highly cultured family, suffered greatly as she saw herself and her husband come down in the world, but she nevertheless retained a cheerful outlook on life and liked to take part in amateur theatricals and attend concerts .
Although Anna was ten years older than Tchaikovsky, they were inseparable companions from 1852 onwards, when Tchaikovsky's parents moved to Saint Petersburg, and, especially after the death of his mother in 1854. They were united by a love of mischief and often devised practical jokes together. Anna would remain Tchaikovsky's favourite cousin all his life, since he valued her ability to rise above adversity thanks to her cheerful character. When her husband suffered financial problems Tchaikovsky lent them a hand .
In her memoirs of the composer Aleksandra Panayeva-Kartsova reported the following conversation which took place between Tchaikovsky and his beloved cousin shortly after the concert in Saint Petersburg on 16/28 October 1893 at which he had conducted the première of his Sixth Symphony:
Tchaikovsky's works dedicated to Anna Merkling:
Tchaikovsky's correspondence with Anna Merkling:
This page was last updated on 14 February 2013