A classical musician has been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for beating and strangling his concert pianist wife to death on their wedding anniversary.

British judge Laura Cox says double bass player John Martin killed Natalia Strelchenko in a "prolonged and ferocious attack."

She sentenced him Monday to life with no chance of parole for 17 years and 174 days.

Natalia Strelchenko (Strelle)

Russian-born concert pianist Natalia Strelchenko, who also performed using the stage surname Strelle, was an accomplished artist on the rise. However, her husband was less successful, jealous of her and made her life miserable, the court heard. (Natalia Strelchenko/YouTube)

"You came to resent her success and her friendships with those she met. I am satisfied on the evidence that you were jealous of her being the focus of attention and praise and of her meeting other people when she was working away from home," Cox said to Martin during sentencing.

"Natalia Strelle was an extremely talented musician and pianist, completely consumed by her art, unaware of and uninterested in domesticity and practical matters and focused on developing her international music career.

"I have no doubt that this made her, on occasions, difficult to live with. But her family and friends made allowance for her artistic temperament, and provided her with encouragement and support. You, by contrast, became increasingly irritated, frustrated and resentful and you sought to undermine her confidence and to control her."

Killed at their home, in front of a friend

Martin was convicted last week of murdering 38-year-old Strelchenko, who was attacked at the couple's home in Manchester, northwest England, on their second wedding anniversary in August.

The attack occurred while Polish violinist Justyna Zanko, a friend of Strelchenko's, was visiting the couple. Zanko testified she was awakened and witnessed part of Martin's brutal assault before fleeing to contact the authorities. 

Martin claims he has no recollection of the killing after taking a mix of alcohol and diazepam.

Russia-born Strelchenko studied at the St. Petersburg State Conservatory and had performed at venues including New York's Carnegie Hall and London's Wigmore Hall. She is survived by a teen son from a previous relationship.

"Natalia was much loved by all her family and friends and Natalia was a loving mother to her son. She was extremely talented with much life ahead of her," Strelchenko's sister Julia said in a statement.

"She was taken from us in August in completely unnecessary circumstances. We cannot express how devastated we are that her life has been stolen from her. We miss Natalia every minute of every day. We can try to repair our heartache although no matter how long the sentence is, it will not bring Natalia back or make our loss any easier."

With files from CBC News