Writer, dramatist, translator, and younger brother of the composer (b. 1/13 May 1850 in Alapayevsk; d. 2/15 January 1916 in Moscow), born Modest Ilyich Chaykovsky (Модест Ильич Чайковский); known affectionately by the composer as "Modya" (Модя).
Modest was the sixth child of Ilya Tchaikovsky (1795–1880) and his wife Aleksandra (b. Assier, 1812–1854), and twin brother to Anatoly Tchaikovsky (1850–1915). He was a graduate of the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in Saint Petersburg, working initially for the civil service, before becoming tutor (1876–82) and then guardian (1882–92) to Nikolay Konradi.
Modest also wrote several plays, and prepared the libretti for his brother's operas The Queen of Spades (1890) and Iolanta (1891), and for operas by Eduard Napravnik, Arseny Koreshchenko, Anton Arensky and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Proficient in various foreign languages, Modest rendered works by Corneille and Shakespeare into Russian, including a fine translation of Shakespeare's Sonnets (published in 1915). He also translated a number of works of Russian literature into other European languages, including Anton Chekhov's story Ward No. 6, which he translated into Italian.
After the composer's death, Modest Tchaikovsky helped to found the Tchaikovsky House-Museum at Klin (1895), where he became the director. His lasting legacy is the three-volume biography of his brother—The Life of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky [Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского] (1900–02), which has subsequently been translated into many languages.
Tchaikovsky's works dedicated to Modest Tchaikovsky:
Tchaikovsky's correspondence with Modest Tchaikovsky:
This page was last updated on 09 June 2013