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Schumann, Clara, 1819-1896



  • Existence: September 13, 1819 - May 20, 1896


Clara Schuman was born the daughter of the great piano teacher Friedrich Wieck, and Marianne Wieck, herself a singer and pianist of professional standard. Clara’s parents divorced when she was six years old, leaving her father free to capitalize off of his daughters abilities as a pianist. Because of her father’s determination, Clara spent the nine years between age six and fourteen on an almost relentless tour. This tour earned her the respect and admiration of the European musical community, Liszt and Mendelssohn especially. Upon her return, she began to date one of her father’s other students, Robert Schuman, and they were married in 1840. This was a marriage that her father totally disagreed with, resulting in him taking the Schumanns to court in hopes of legally breaking their marriage. Because of legal problems, and a husband with declining health, Clara put her compositional and professional piano playing on hold. After her husband’s death in 1856, she began to perform publically with greater appearance. In addition to her piano career, she also developed a reputation as one of the great piano teachers. A reputation earned through private teaching and from her posts at Leipzig Conservatory in 1844, and head of the piano department at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt (1878).