Clara Schumann is believed to be one of the most outstanding German pianists and composers. She managed to introduce changes in the piano recital repertoire and to influence the generally accepted preferences of the audience. Clara was the wife of the well-known German composer Robert Schumann.
Clara was born in Leipzig in the family of Friedrich and Marianne Wieck. Clara’s mother was a famous solo singer who sang at the Leipzig Opera House, the Gewandhause. In the year 1824, her parents divorced, and Clara had to live with her father (Encyclopedia Britannica Online, n.d.).
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Her father planned and controlled every detail of Clara’s future. Since her early years Clara was taught how to play various musical instruments, how to sing, and how to compose. Being a very gifted child, she was invited to give performances at the houses of the noble people of Leipzig. During one of such performances, Clara met her future husband, Robert Schumann. Robert admired her playing very much and asked his mother to allow him to take lessons of music with Friedrich Wieck. While studying music, Robert Schumann lived in the Wieck’s house for a year. As a result, Robert and Clara became very close. They did not take into consideration objections of Clara’s father and married in the year 1840 (Encyclopedia Britannica Online).
During all her life Clara was responsible for household and various affairs. It was Clara who was constantly earning money to support her family by giving performances. It should be stressed that she got used to do it not because of money only, but because of her passion for music.
When Clara was only eleven, she and her father started a concert tour, visiting different cities of Europe. It is worth mentioning that she played for the outstanding German poet Goethe, who was very astounded at her performance.
While giving concerts in Vienna, Clara got recognition of the public and outstanding musicians and composers of that time, such as Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt. In the year 1838, she got the highest musical honor of Austria, the Royal and Imperial Chamber Virtuoso.
After the death of her husband, Clara took up the interpretation of Robert’s works. Due to her efforts, her husband’s masterpieces were recognized and became popular in England (Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2012).
Clara Schumann taught playing piano in Frankfurt-am-Main from 1878 to 1892. During this period, she made very remarkable contributions to the piano playing technique.
Though Clara’s career was rather successful, her family life was a real tragedy. She lost her four children (there were eight children in the family). Clara’s husband and one of sons spent their miserable lives in the hospital for insane people. As to Clara herself, she became deaf during the last years of her life and used a wheelchair.
In 1891, Clara Schumann performed her last concert in Frankfurt. In the year 1896, she got a stroke, dying in a few days. Clara Schumann is buried with Robert Schumann.
In conclusion, Clara Schumann made remarkable contributions to the development of piano playing technique and music in general.