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About Clara Wieck-Schumann
(1819-1896) Romantic Period – Germany
Clara Schumann was known during her lifetime primarily as a concert pianist. It has not been until more recently that her compositions have been performed with greater regularity. She perfomed widely across Europe, starting at the age of eleven and continuing for more than 60 years. She often performed with violinist Joseph Joachim. As a performer, and composer, she championed the works of Robert Schumann (her husband), Frederic Chopin, Felix Mendelssohn, and Johannes Brahms. Clara and Robert had a very close relationship with Brahms, and Clara often debuted his compositions. As a concert pianist, Clara set many of the standards that remain in place for common performance practice, including playing from memory.
Clara received a broad musical education from her father. She wrote her first piano concerto at the age of fourteen and continued to compose regularly into her thirties, when family and other responsibilities began to exert greater demands on her time. Of particular note are works for piano solo, songs, the Romances for violin and piano, and the Piano Trio in g minor Op. 17. Clara was also the authoratative editor of Robert's works for the publishing company Breitkopf & Härtel and taught at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt.