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Allegro Brillante
Music by Peter. I. Tchaikovsky
Choreography by George Balanchine
Staged by Judith Fugate
Lighting Design by Kirk Bookman

Allegro Brillante is characterized by what Maria Tallchief (the ballerina on whom the bravura
leading role was created) calls “an expansive Russian romanticism.” The music’s vigorous
pace makes the steps appear even more difficult, but the ballet relies on strong dancing,
precise timing, and breadth of gesture. Balanchine said: “It contains everything I know about
the classical ballet in 13 minutes.”

Tchaikovsky’s Third Piano Concerto was originally written as a symphony. But as it was nearing completion, the composer, dissatisfied with it, converted the first movement into a concert piece for piano and orchestra. After his death, Tchaikovsky's student, Sergei Taneyev, altered movements 2 and 3 into an andante and finale, completing the concerto. Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (1840—1893) studied at the Conservatory in St. Petersburg, where Balanchine later studied piano in addition to his studies in dance. Tchaikovsky is one of the most popular and influential of all romantic composers. His work is expressive, melodic, and grand in scale, with rich orchestrations. His output was prodigious and included chamber works, symphonies, concerti for various instruments, operas, and works for the piano. His creations for the ballet, composed in close partnership with Marius Petipa, include Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and The Sleeping Beauty.

Repertory notes provided courtesy of and adapted from New York City Ballet Online Repertory Index.
Additional sources: Choreography by George Balanchine: A Catalogue of Works, an Eakins Press Foundation
Book, published by Viking (1984); and Repertory in Review: 40 Years of the New York City Ballet by Nancy
Reynolds (1970; The Dial Press).

World Premiere: New York City Ballet, March 1, 1956

Kansas City Ballet premiere: February 14, 1985

 

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