Clara Schumann, classical music composer

Clara Schumann image

Clara Schumann

Biography

Born in Leipzig on September 13th, 1819, Clara Josephine Wieck began studying music from an early age. Her father, Friedrich Wieck, provided her with a broad and thorough musical education, which included composition. Though she began composing during childhood, her career was concentrated upon being a concert pianist. During the early years of her career, her concert programs consisted largely of show pieces by Kalkbrenner, Henselt, Thalberg and Czerny and, as was customary, her own compositions. Later, however, as she became more established as a performer, she began to include works by the more "difficult" composers of the past—Bach, Mozart and Beethoven—as well those at the forefront of the burgeoning Romantic movement, such as Mendelssohn, Chopin and, of course, Robert Schumann.

Clara had met Robert Schumann in March 1828 when both were asked to perform at the home of Dr. Ernst Carus. Schumann so admired Clara's playing that he abandoned his studies of the law and began taking piano lessons with Clara's father. In 1837, Schumann approached Friedrich for his permission to marry Clara, but he refused. Friedrich desperately tried to prevent her from marrying Schumann. Eventually, the couple took him to court and they were finally wed on September 12th, 1840. After the marriage, she continued to perform and compose. However, by 1855 she had ceased composing altogether.

Following Schumann's mental illness and subsequent death in 1856, Clara devoted herself to the promotion and interpretation of his music. In addition, she also frequently gave first performances of works by Johannes Brahms, whom she and Robert had met in 1853. In 1878, she was appointed teacher of the piano at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main, which she held until 1892. Her efforts at the conservatory greatly influenced modern piano technique.

On March 12th, 1891, Clara Schumann gave her last public concert, performing the piano duet version of Brahms's Variations on a Theme of Haydn. Almost exactly five years later, on March 26th, 1896, she suffered a stroke and passed away two months later on May 20th at the age of 76.

Though her legacy as a pianist had a strong influence long past her death, her contributions as a composer were mostly ignored. However, in recent years, he works have received more favorable attention.

Composer Title Date Action
Clara Schumann Liebst du um Schonheit / Mein Stern 05/08/2009 Play Add to playlist
Clara Schumann Romance 01/12/2012 Play
Clara Schumann Three Romances op. 22 11/16/2012 Play Add to playlist