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Clara Schumann

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Biography

Clara Schumann (1819–1896) was a German pianist and composer in the nineteenth-century Romantic style.

She was born Clara Josephine Wieck on 13th September 1819 in Leipzig, the daughter of a music teacher. He taught her piano and composition, and she had written a piano concerto by the age of fifteen. She embarked on a career as a pianist, first appearing at a concert in Leipzig in 1828, followed by her debut as a solo performer in 1830 (when she also first met Robert Schumann, one of her father’s students).

Her career was extremely successful, and over the following seven years she played in Paris, toured Germany, and in 1837 performed in Vienna, where she was awarded the title of Royal and Imperial Virtuosa by the Emperor. Her manager and teacher remained her father.

She became secretly engaged to Robert Schumann 1837, her father being very much opposed to their marriage, which he saw as an obstacle to her career. The couple had to apply for special permission to marry without Clara’s father’s consent. Permission was granted in 1840, and they were able to marry.

Her father had been right; marriage to the troubled Schumann was particularly difficult, and though Clara Schumann managed to juggle the demands of her career with those of her husband and their children (eventually eight of them), it couldn’t have been easy for her.

The couple, after living for a time in Leipzig, moved first to Dresden and then to Düsseldorf.

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