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German Pianist & Composer Clara Schumann Died in 1896

She is remembered as one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic Era


German virtuoso pianist and composer Clara Schumann passed away on this day in 1896 -- aged 76.

Clara was raised in Leipzig, where both her father, Friedrich Wieck, and her mother, Mariane, were pianists and piano teachers. Her mother was also a famous soprano who frequented the Gewandhaus. Clara, a child prodigy, studied piano with both her mother and her father. Her official debut was on October 28, 1828, at the Gewandhaus when she was just nine years old. She embarked on tours at the age of eleven, achieving success in cities like Paris and Vienna.

On September 12, 1840, she wedded the composer Robert Schumann, and together they had eight children.

Throughout her lifetime, Clara gained renown as a piano soloist, earning acclaim for her technical prowess, nuanced interpretations of musical compositions, and her adeptness at conveying the composer's intentions. She premiered compositions by Frederic Chopin, Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn, and her spouse, Robert Schumann, during her career.

Beyond her role as a performer, Clara was also a composer, having penned 66 pieces for piano and orchestra, solo piano, and cadenzas for Beethoven and Mozart piano concertos. Highly esteemed for her musical insights, both Robert Schumann and Brahms frequently sought her counsel in their compositional endeavors. Clara together with Robert also nurtured Brahms and maintained a close bond with him.

Following Robert Schumann's untimely passing in 1856, Clara continued to tour Europe for decades, often collaborating with violinist Joseph Joachim and other chamber musicians.

From 1878 onwards, she held a significant role as a piano educator at Dr. Hoch's Konservatorium in Frankfurt, where she attracted students from around the world. Clara also oversaw the publication of her husband's works.

She is credited with changing the format and repertoire of the traditional piano recital by decreasing the importance of purely virtuosic works. This significantly altered the tastes of the listening public.

Clara passed away from a stroke while in Frankfurt. She was buried in Bonn next to her husband.



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