Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Clara Schumann's Public Fame

Last week we looked at Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, the talented sister of Felix Mendelssohn whose music was performed in private, domestic settings. Clara Wieck Schumann (1819–1896) was another woman musician during the nineteenth century only, unlike Fanny, Clara was a very public figure.

Clara Wieck Schumann was the daughter of Friedrich Wieck who may have been instrumental in his daughter’s success, encouraging her as a virtuosic pianist from an early age. Her first public performance was at the age of nine and she was recognized as a leading pianist in Europe by the age of twenty. Unlike many performers at the time, Clara focused more on being true to the composer’s work rather than simply giving a showy performance.

Robert Schumann met Clara when he began taking piano lessons from her father. Early on, she was actually the better known of the two! They were eventually married despite objections from Clara’s father. Amazingly, the talented Clara was able to continue to perform and compose while managing her eight children. After Robert passed away, she quit composing and focused on teaching and performing, promoting her late husband’s work.

Clara Schumann-Courtesy of britannica.com

Next time we’ll take a look at one of Clara’s famous works.

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