The annual HPO Composer Festival returns! This year we celebrate and honour the incomparable Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky with several talks and performances in the community, as well as our Mainstage performance Triumphant Tchaikovsky. Our Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte will visit both the Hamilton and Burlington Public Library central branches to present fascinating talks with piano demonstrations about Tchaikovsky’s life and work. We’ve compiled a list of books related to the 19th-century composer available at the HPL and BPL for those interested in diving deeper into his fascinating life.

Tchaikovsky: The Man Revealed
John Suchet, 2018

In this book, John Suchet, a host on the UK’s Classic FM, explores the complexity of Tchaikovsky’s emotional life and how it plays out in his music. From the early death of his mother to a disastrous short-lived marriage to being forced to suppress his homosexuality in oppressive 19th-century Russian culture, Tchaikovsky faced many challenges that are reflected in the deep emotional intensity of his work.

Get it at the HPL



Roland John Wiley, 2009

Renowned Tchaikovsky scholar John Wiley delves into 19th century Russia to provide a balanced look at the composer’s life and historical impact. Perfect for both orchestral scholars and casual listeners alike, this book substantially explores some of Tchaikovsky’s most well-known compositions presenting detailed analysis and fresh perspective on his intent and expression.

Get it at the BPL
Get it at the HPL


Eugene Onegin
Aleksandr Pushkin, 1825

Tchaikovsky famously composed the operatic version of Pushkin’s novel in verse, Eugene Onegin. The story itself is considered one of the most important pieces of Russian literature, providing an encyclopedic view of Russian life in the early 19th century told through a simple love story.

Get it at the BPL



Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: An Essential Guide to His Life and Works
David Nice, 1997

Part of Classic FM’s Lifelines series, this book is an accessible look at the life of Tchaikovsky and his impact on orchestral music and culture. This is an excellent, not-too-deep introduction to the composer focusing on biographical details and providing a full list of compositions.

Get it at the HPL