Clara Schumann: One of the Most Renowned and Multi-talented Pianists of the 19th Century

Born: On 13 September 1819
Died: On 20 May 1896

German musician and composer Clara Schumann is widely acclaimed as one of the most renowned and multi-talented pianists of the Romantic era. She played the significant role in redefining the eighteenth-century keyboard music by changing and modifying the range of the piano recital over a 61-year concert career. She brought in a brand new taste of music to the public. Her husband Robert Schumann was also a renowned composer. Gradually, Schumann’s reputation as a composer and pianist widened which led her to come in touch with several leading musicians of her time such as Chopin, Mendelssohn, Liszt and famous violinist Joseph Joachim.

Life of Clara Schumann in brief:

Clara Schumann was born on September 13, 1819 in Leipzig, Germany into a music loving family. Her father Friedrich Wieck was a famous piano teacher and her mother Marianne Wieck was a famous singer. Schumann extensively studied piano, violin, voice, instrumentation, counterpoint, score reading, and various different areas of composition with her father and some reputed teachers in Leipzig, Dresden, and Berlin. At the age of nine, in 1828, she first performed in the Leipzig Gewandhaus. Until 1838 she performed under the guidance of her father.

In 1836, Clara met and fell in love with Robert Schumann who was also a music composer but her father was indifferent to their relationship. Nevertheless, they got married on September 12, 1840 and settled in Leipzig. Four years after their marriage, a series of unfortunate events started taking place. In 1844, her husband Robert started experiencing chronic depression that led him to the mental asylum. It happened following an event when he attempted to commit suicide by throwing himself in the Rhine river in 1854. Clara was not allowed to visit her husband due to his extreme condition. Finally her husband died on 29 July 1856 at the age of 46 and Clara became a widow at the age of thirty-seven. After his death, she dedicated herself in interpreting and editing her husband’s works. In 1878, she was appointed as the principal teacher of piano at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt and continued her career as a performer. She died after suffering from stroke on 26 March 1896 at age of 76 after playing her last public concert in Frankfurt on 12 March 1891. She was buried beside her husband at Bonn’s Alter Friedhof.

She made her mark through her technical expertise, poetic spirit, deep thoughtful interpretation, deep emotional expression and a unique singing tone in playing. She wrote as well as published numerous pieces for solo piano. Her compositions include 4 pieces for piano and orchestra, 3 partsongs, 29 songs, 20 pieces for solo piano, and cadenzas for 3 piano concertos by Beethoven and Mozart.

Clara Schumann Quotes:

“My imagination can picture no fairer happiness than to continue living for art.”

“There is nothing greater than the joy of composing something oneself and then listening to it.”

“Treasures are no longer to be got by instrumental art.”

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