Pyotr (Peter) Ilyich Tchaikovsky began studying the piano at age five, and quickly proved very talented. However, his pragmatic parents opted to send him to the Imperial School of Jurisprudence, to prepare him for civil service; after graduating, his first career was in Russia’s Ministry of Justice. Just three years later, the Saint Petersburg Conservatory opened, and young Tchaikovsky immediately enrolled. Hired as a professor immediately out of school, Tchaikovsky swiftly rose to prominence. Today, his three ballets are particularly beloved, revived and revised by dance companies around the world as well as performed in orchestral arrangement.