Today's Memory

Today’s Memory – Clara Schumann

Clara Schumann

13 September 1819, Leipzig – 20 May 1896, Frankfurt am Main


Clara Schumann (born Clara Josephine Wieck) was a German pianist and composer, wife of composer Robert Schumann, considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era.

Encouraged by her father, she studied piano from the age of five and by 1835 had established a reputation throughout Europe as a child prodigy. In 1838 she was honoured by the Austrian court and also was elected to the prestigious Society of the Friends of Music (Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde) in Vienna.

Clara Schumann – Piano Concerto Op. 7 in A minor (1833) • Soloist:  Francesco Nicolosi

Despite strong objections from her father, she married Schumann in 1840, and they had eight children between 1841 and 1854.

Though family responsibilities curtailed her career, she taught at the Leipzig Conservatory, composed, and toured frequently. She exerted her influence over a 61-year concert career, changing the format and repertoire of the piano recital and the tastes of the listening public.

Clara Schumann – Trio Für Violine, Cello Und Klavier Op. 17 Part I – Allegro moderato

Beginning in 1853, the Schumanns developed a close professional and personal friendship with the composer Johannes Brahms that Clara maintained after her husband’s death in 1856. She was the first to perform publicly any work by Brahms. She later premiered some other pieces by Brahms, notably the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel.

Clara Schumann – Klaviertrio in g-moll, Op.17

She edited the collected edition of her husband’s works (published 1881–93). Her own compositions include works for orchestra (among them a piano concerto), chamber music, songs, and many character pieces for solo piano.

Portrait by Franz Von Lenbach, 1878


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