Clara Schumann

Pianist / Composer

Born: 13 September 1819
Died: 20 May 1896
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Best known as:

 

The pianist wife of composer Robert Schumann

Name at birth: Clara Josephine Wieck

 

Clara Schumann was a noted pianist and composer of the 19th century, a star of German Romanticism  famous for her interpretations of compositions by Frédéric Chopin and by those of her husband, Robert Schumann. Clara was a child prodigy and the daughter of piano teacher Friedrich Wieck. She began her professional career early, performing her first major concert at the age of 11 and publishing her first songs at the age of 12. Robert Schumann was nine years older and a student of her father's; by the time Clara returned from a successful concert tour in 1838, the romance that had blossomed with Robert had proceeded, despite her father's disapproval. Clara had to take legal action against her father to be allowed to marry, and she and Schumann were married in 1840. She toured Russia in 1844 without Robert, and she raised their eight children after he had a mental breakdown in 1854 (he was committed to an asylum after a suicide attempt). Although she did little composing later in her career, Clara Schumann championed the career of Johannes Brahms and furthered her huband's legacy after his death in 1856. An influential concert performer, she also taught at the Frankfurt am Main Conservatory after 1878.

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