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Clara Schumann

biography


"There is nothing more delightful than to compose something and hear it played afterwards..."         Clara Schumann


Born as Clara Josephine Wieck on 13 September 1819 in Leipzig, from an early age she was raised by her father, Friedrich Wieck, as a pianistic wunderkind who soon after her 1828 concert debut, with the characteristic virtuoso repertoire of the time, increasingly gained prominence.

As a composer she had instruction from the Leipzig Thomaskantor Theodor Weinlig, and caused a sensation with bravura pieces and a piano concerto that was premiered in 1835. From 1832 she already undertook, together with her father, long concert tours that led her to the music metropolises of Berlin, Vienna, and Paris, among other places.

In 1840, against the will of her father, she married his former piano pupil Robert Schumann, who had meanwhile found more and more recognition as a composer. They had eight children together; concertizing and composing experienced substantial limitations during these years.

Only after the death of her husband did Clara Schumann resume her touring activities; new compositions, however, did not appear. Her artistic involvement was focused on the works of Beethoven, Chopin, and Mendelssohn, and particularly on the works of her husband and of their common friend Johannes Brahms.

From 1878 she taught a master class for piano at Hoch’s Conservatory in Frankfurt. Marked by many afflictions of old age, she appeared in concert for the last time in 1891, and ceased her teaching activities in Frankfurt a year later.

She died in Frankfurt on 20 May 1896 and was buried four days later in Bonn beside her husband.

“There is nothing more delightful than to compose something and hear it played afterwards…”     C. Schumann diary, 1846 


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Clara Schumann 1840

"I tried to compose something for Robert, and behold, it worked! I was blissful at having really completed a first and a second sonata movement, which did not fail to produce an effect - namely, they took my dear husband quite by surprise."

Clara Schumann  







Klara gave me two movements of a sonata for Christmas - utterly delicate and much purer in their writing than anything she has written before..."

Robert Schumann   (1841)