History Quiz: Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky

Posted on December 1, 2011 by

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker by New York City Ballet.

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.




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.


Photo by Paul Kolnick, courtesy of New York City Ballet