Russian music and literary critic, teacher, and longstanding friend of Tchaikovsky (b. 13/25 May 1845 in Saint Petersburg; d. 6/18 October 1904 in Saint Petersburg), born German Avgustovich Larosh (Герман Августович Ларош).
Laroche was already writing music by the age of ten, and in 1860 he began to study piano with Aleksandr Dubuque. He met Tchaikovsky two years later at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, and the two students became lifelong friends. After graduating from the conservatory in 1866, Laroche, like Tchaikovsky, worked as a professor at the Moscow Conservatory, teaching courses in music history and theory from 1867 to 1870 and 1883 to 1886; for a while he also taught at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory (1872–1875 and 1879).
During the 1870s his attention turned increasingly to music criticism, contributing many articles to newspapers and music journals in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. With some notable exceptions, Tchaikovsky's music was well received by Laroche, and his evaluations were subsequently published in several collected editions.
In May 1875 Laroche's first wife, Anastasya Petrovna Sushkina (1847–1875) died of consumption, leaving him with two young children—Zinayda (1869–1959), Yevgeny (1870–1940), and Olga (1873–1897). His second marriage, to Aleksandra Fyodorovna Ukhtomskaya broke down during the 1880s, causing Laroche to suffer a creative crisis. During this period Tchaikovsky assisted him with his articles (sometimes dictating them himself), and tried to encourage his musical talents as a composer, orchestrating his sketches for an Overture-Fantasia in 1888. The following year, Laroche married for the third and final time—to Yekaterina Ivanovna Sinelnikova.
After the composer's death, Laroche also wrote a number of valuable memoirs concerning his friend, and their student years in particular.
Tchaikovsky's arrangements of works by Herman Laroche:
Tchaikovsky's works dedicated to Herman Laroche:
Tchaikovsky's correspondence with Herman Laroche:
This page was last updated on 14 February 2013