Every month KD’s selects a Composer of the Month and an Artist of the Month, each who have a birthday within that month. This month’s composer is Clara Schumann.

Born: September 13, 1819 – May 20, 1896

Nationality: German

Instrument: Piano

Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

At a time when women rarely composed or performed music, Clara Schumann (nee Wieck), Clara did both. Clara was one of the most famous and most important pianists of her era, and enjoyed a performance career that spanned over 60 years. In the process, she was instrumental in changing the typical repertoire and format of piano recitals, as well as the listening taste of the public. Her talent as a composer was largely unrecognized until the latter part of her life; we may not have even heard her best music yet, because much of her music remains unreleased and in the hands of private collectors today.

Apart from her fame as a pianist and composer, which stands on its own, Clara is known for being married to the famous composer Robert Schumann. Clara played an important role in helping Robert become a famous composer, as she was the artist that premiered his most important works (Robert’s hand was partially paralyzed while he was an up-and-coming artist, and he couldn’t perform his own music). Clara and Robert “discovered” the famous composer and violinist Johannes Brahms and helped him become famous. Clara was the first to perform Brahms’ music publicly.

Interesting Facts:

Suggested Listening:

Piano Concerto in A Minor, Opus 7 (Composed when Clara wasĀ sixteen)

Deuxime Scherzo in C Minor, Opus 14

Piano Trio in G Minor, Opus 17

Drei Romanzen, Opus 22 (“Three Romances for Violin and Piano”)

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