Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Bruce Jenner

Scandalous Overtures: Tchaikovsky: Fear And Loathing In St. Petersburg

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and William Bruce Jenner: really, can we imagine a more unlikely pair? Tchaikovsky was a nineteenth century Russian composer of exquisitely lyric music; a shy and sensitive man, fastidious in his habits and Victorian in his manners and bearing. Bruce Jenner is a dyslexic jock from Westchester County in New York. When his football career was cut short by a knee injury he went on to track and field and won a gold medal at the 1976 summer Olympics in Montreal. He has been squarely in the public eye since, as an athlete, actor, racecar driver, businessman and, since 2007, a reality TV star. Their differences aside, both Tchaikovsky and Jenner led secret lives of remarkable similarity. That Tchaikovsky’s secret killed him while Jenner’s has inspired fascination and no small degree of public support has much to tell us about the environments in which they lived. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a deeply neurotic man. His neurosis sprang from a personality so over-sensitive that his governess called him a “porcelain child”; from his inferiority complex as a composer; and from his sexuality. Tchaikovsky was a died-in-the-wool homosexual living and working in one of the most homophobic cultures of […]

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