Schumann, Clara

BORN 13 Sep 1819, Leipzig, Sachsen: Hause "Hohe Lilie", Neumarkt - DIED 20 May 1896, Frankfurt am Main, Hessen
BIRTH NAME Wieck, Clara Josephine
GRAVE LOCATION Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen: Alter Friedhof (Abteilung IV, Grabnummer 860)

Daughter of piano teacher Friedrich Wieck, who started teaching her when she was only five years old. She impressed her surroundings by playing difficult piano pieces by head when she was sixteen. In 1828 she made her public debut at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. In the same year Robert Schumann started piano lessons with Friedrich Wieck.

Clara and her father went on concert tours to Hamburg, Paris and other cities. Clara and Schumann started to spend more time together and Wieck tried to keep them apart by taking her to Dresden. They entered into a secret engagement on August 14, 1837 and on September 13, 1837 Schumann asked for her hand. Wieck refused boldly and Clara left for Vienna where Emperor Francis I called her 'Wundermädchen' (wondergirl).

In 1839 Clara asked for legal permission to marry Schumann and on September 12, 1840 they were finally married. They travelled to Russia in 1844 and to Vienna in 1846 for concerts. In 1849 they had to flee dresden for the revolution, Clara being pregnant of one of their eight children. In 1850 the Schumanns moved to Düsseldorf.

By 1854 Schumann suffered from a mental illness and he died in 1856. Clara's contacts to the young Johannes Brahms, whom she had met in 1853, became closer and he was probably in love with her (later he had his eye on her daughter Julie but Brahms was very unlucky in love). Details are unknown because Clara and Brahms destroyed the letters they wrote to each other between 1853 and 1858. Certain is that he lived with her in Düsseldorf for a while.

Clara sent most of her children to relatives. She moved with her children to her mother in Berlin in 1857 and Lichtenthal (now part of Baden Baden) in 1863, where she lived until 1873. Several successful concert tours followed. In 1864 she toured Russia once more. Like her husband when he was still alive, Clara didn't like the music of Richard Wagner. She called the enthousiasm for his music 'a disease that sweeps across a country and takes away the best people'. In 1882 she attended "Das Rheingold" but it bored her.

In 1873 she moved back to Berlin. From 1878 onwards she lived in Frankfurt am Main, where she became the main piano teacher at the new conservatory. In Frankfurt she gave her last concert on March 12, 1891. She died in 1896 after suffering two strokes.

• Father: Wieck, Friedrich
• Daughter: Schumann, Julie
• Son: Schumann, Felix
• Husband: Schumann, Robert (1840-1856, Schönefeld, Sachsen (near Leipzig): village church)

Related persons
• was a friend of Arnim, Gisela von
• is half-brother/half-sister of Bargiel, Woldemar
• visited Baudissin, Sophie von
• was a friend of Brahms, Johannes
• performed with Clauss-Szarvady, Wilhelmine
• was teacher of Goldschmidt, Otto
• performed with Hellmesberger, Josef (senior)
• was a friend of Joachim, Amalie
• cooperated with Joachim, Joseph
• was painted by Lenbach, Franz von
• performed with Liszt, Franz
• cooperated with Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Felix
• visited Oriola, Maximiliane, Gräfin von
• knew Radecke, Robert
• knew Reinecke, Carl
• visited Schadow-Hasenclever, Sophie
• supported Smetana, Bedrich
• knew Soldat-Röger, Marie
• was a friend of Stockhausen, Elisabeth von
• knew Thalberg, Sigismund
• disliked the work of Wagner, Richard
• was a friend of Wasielewski, Alma von

12/5/1824Clara Wieck's mother Mariana leaves her husband Friedrich Wieck [Wieck, Friedrich]
17/9/1824Clara Wieck returns to her father. Her mother had left her father in May and she had spent the summer with her mother. But she came into the custody of her father because she was five years old now. [Wieck, Friedrich]
27/10/1824Clara Wieck starts piano lessons by her father Friedrich Wieck [Wieck, Friedrich]
20/1/1828First public performance of Clara Wieck at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig 
31/3/1828Robert Schumann meets Clara Wieck. At the occasion he heard her play the piano. [Schumann, Robert]
3/7/1828Friedrich Wieck marries Clementine Fechner. He had divorced his first wife Mariane Tromlitz in 1825. [Wieck, Friedrich]
0/8/1828Robert Schumann starts his piano lessons under Friedrich Wieck [Schumann, Robert][Wieck, Friedrich]
6/3/1830Clara Wieck starts her private concerts in Dresden. They would continue until 7 April 1830. 
14/5/1830Concert by Thalberg in Leipzig. The 10-year old Clara Wieck was in the audience. Two days before she had played the first movement of a four handed Sonata of Hummel together with him. [Thalberg, Sigismund]
8/11/1830Clara Wieck's first solo concert at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig 
25/11/1830Clara Wieck starts a concert tour together with her father [Wieck, Friedrich]
0/1/1831Clara Wieck and her father return from their concert tour [Wieck, Friedrich]
8/6/1831Robert Schumann calls Clara Wieck 'Zilia' in is poems. This relates to the "Schmetterlinge" poems. [Schumann, Robert]
25/9/1831Clara Wieck starts a concert tour in Paris. She was in the presence of her father Friedrich Wieck. [Wieck, Friedrich]
1/5/1832Clara Wieck returns from her concert tour in Paris [Wieck, Friedrich]
0/7/1832Clara Wieck performs solo concert in Leipzig. She would do it again in September. 
0/11/1832Clara Wieck performs in Altenburg, Zwickau and Schneeberg 
0/0/1833Clara Wieck gives concerts in Leipzig, Chemnitz, Karlsbad and Schneeberg. She did this in January, February and April. 
11/11/1834Clara Wieck starts a concert tour to Hamburg and other cities. She would also perform in Hannover and Magdeburg. 
0/4/1835Clara Wieck returnes from her concert tour. After her return she spent much time with Robert Schumann. Schumann was secretly engaged to Ernestine von Fricken, but he started to withdraw in August after he heard of Ernestine's heritage. [Schumann, Robert]
25/11/1835First kiss between Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck. Friedrich Wieck would take his daughter to Dresden in January 1836 to keep her away from Schumann. [Schumann, Robert][Wieck, Friedrich]
7/2/1836Secret meeting between Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck in Dresden. Clara's father Friedrich Wieck disapproved of their meetings and thus they met in secret. The meeting lasted until 11 February 1836. [Schumann, Robert][Wieck, Friedrich]
8/4/1836Clara Wieck's concert tour to Breslau ends 
0/6/1836Clara Wieck returns Robert Schumann's letters [Schumann, Robert]
0/11/1836Concert tour by Clara Wieck to Naumburg, Jena and Weimar 
3/5/1837End of German concert tour by Clara Wieck. The tour brought her to Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen. She also visited her mother Mariana. 
14/8/1837Secret engagement between Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck [Schumann, Robert]
13/9/1837Robert Schumann asks Friedrich Wieck for Clara's hand. He did this on her eighteenth birthday, but Friedrich Wieck refused his daughter permission to marry Schumann. [Schumann, Robert][Wieck, Friedrich]
15/10/1837Clara Wieck leaves for Vienna for a concert tour 
15/3/1838Clara Wieck is named 'Royal and Imperia Virtuosa' in Austria. She was in Vienna for a concert tour. 
21/3/1838Emperor Ferdinand I calls Clara Wieck 'Wundermädchen' ('Wonder girl') 
0/4/1838Clara Wieck hears Franz Liszt for the first time in Vienna [Liszt, Franz]
0/5/1838Clara Wieck returns from her concert tour to Vienna 
8/1/1839Clara Wieck leaves for Paris without her father Friedrich Wieck [Wieck, Friedrich]
15/6/1839Clara Wieck asks for legal permission to marry. This was because her father refused to let her marry Robert Schumann. [Schumann, Robert]
14/8/1839Clara Wieck returns from Paris 
3/9/1839Clara Wieck joins her mother Mariana to live with her in Berlin 
17/4/1840Robert Schumann visites Clara Wieck in Berlin. The visit lasted from 17 April to 30 April. [Schumann, Robert]
5/6/1840Clara Wieck returns to Leipzig 
1/8/1840Legal permission for the marriage between Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck is granted. The Court of Appeal allowed them to marry. Before that Clara's father Friedrich Wieck had stopped the marriage. [Schumann, Robert][Wieck, Friedrich]
5/9/1840Clara Wieck performs her last concert before her marriage to Robert Schumann 
27/2/1841Friedrich Wieck returns her piano to his daughter Clara [Wieck, Friedrich]
31/3/1841Clara Schumann first performs under her married name at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig. She had maaied Robert Schumann on 12 September 1840. [Schumann, Robert]
0/11/1841Clara Schumann gives concerts in Weimar 
14/2/1842Clara Schumann leaves for a concert tour. With her husband Robert Schumann she travelled to Hamburg. She continued alone to Kopenhagen. [Schumann, Robert]
0/2/1843Clara Schumann visits her father Friedrich Wieck for reconciliation [Wieck, Friedrich]
25/1/1844Start of a concert tour of Robert and Clara Schumann to Russia [Schumann, Robert]
5/3/1844Clara Schumann is decorated in Saint Petersburg. She became a honorary member of the Philharmonic Society. 
30/5/1844Clara and Robert Schumann return from their Russian tour [Schumann, Robert]
3/10/1844Clara and Robert Schumann visit Dresden [Schumann, Robert]
13/12/1844Clara and Robert Schumann move to Dresden [Schumann, Robert]
0/11/1846Start of the concert tour of Clara and Robert Schumann to Vienna. They visited Brno and Prague as well. They took their daughters Elise and Marie with them. [Schumann, Robert]
4/2/1847Clara and Robert Schumann return from their concert tour to Vienna [Schumann, Robert]
5/5/1849Clara and Robert Schumann flee from Dresden. Clara was seven months pregnant and they fled for the revolution. [Schumann, Robert]
12/6/1849Clara and Robert Schumann return to Dresden. They had previously left Dresden in May for the revolution. [Schumann, Robert]
12/8/1852Robert and Clara Schumann go on holiday to Scheveningen in the Netherlands. The vacation lasted until 17 September 1852. They hoped that a stay in Scheveningen would improve Robert's health. They took Clara's half-brother Woldemar Bargiel with them. Clara miscarried during their vacation. [Bargiel, Woldemar][Schumann, Robert]
30/9/1853Clara and Robert Schumann meet Johannes Brahms. the 12-year old Marie Schumann was also present. [Brahms, Johannes][Schumann, Robert]
28/10/1853Robert Schumann introduced Johannes Brahms to the public. Johannes Brahms had visited Schumann, who had listened to him playing. Schumann was impressed, called his wife Clara and told her that she would hear music like she had never heard it before. Schumann wrote an article in the Neue Zeitschrift Für Musik in which he introduced Brahms to the public. [Brahms, Johannes][Schumann, Robert]
24/11/1853Start of Robert Schumann's concert tour in the Netherlands. It lasted until 22 December 1853. [Schumann, Robert]
6/12/1853Sophie Offermans sings a work by Robert Schumann accompanied by Clara Schumann. She sang a part from "Der Rose Pilgerfahrt" by Schumann in The Hague. Clara Schumann accompanied her on the piano. Robert Schumann was in the public. [Schumann, Robert]
21/1/1854Robert and Clara Schumann give concerts in Hannover. They gave concerts from 21 January to 30 January. In Hannover they met Brams. [Brahms, Johannes][Schumann, Robert]
27/2/1854Robert Schumann jumps from a bridge into the Rhine. He jumped from the Oberkasseler Pontonbrücke in the river Rhein with the intent to kill himself. His attempt failed because fishers helped him out of the water. Afterwards physicians advised Clara, who was pregnant, not to see him in his current state. She went to a lady friend with her children. She wasn't told until 1856 that he had tried to commit suicide. [Schumann, Robert]
25/4/1854Clara Schumann hears Liszt's "Piano sonata in B Minor" and strongly dislikes it. She received it on this day and it was dedicated to her husband Robert. Johannes Brahms played it for her and she strongly disliked it. The piece was performed in public in 1857 by Hans von Bülow and it would become both popular and influential. [Brahms, Johannes][Bülow, Hans von][Liszt, Franz][Schumann, Robert]
14/9/1854Robert Schumann is able to correspond with his wife Clara. He was committed to an institution in Endenich after a suicide attempt in a state of confusion. From now on he would correspond for seven months with his wife. [Schumann, Robert]
23/7/1856Clara Schumann is called to Endenich. The situation of her husband Robert was supposed to be critical, but they didn't meet on this day. [Schumann, Robert]
27/7/1856Clara Schumann is finally admitted to her husband Robert. Robert Schumann was committed to an institution in Endenich. She hadn't seen him for two years because she wasn't admitted to him. Two days later he would die. [Schumann, Robert]
22/9/1869Julie Schumann marries and Brahms loses another love. He was in love with Julie Schumann, the daughter of Robert and Clara Schumann. He dedicated a composition to her and hinted at 'settling in Vienna'. Neither mother nor daughter understood what he meant and Julie married the Italian count Vittorio Amadeo Radicati di Marmorito. On the evening of her marriage Brahms showed Clara his "Alto Rhapsody" and declared that this was his song for her engagement. It contained the text "Ach, wer heilet die Schmerzen" (who will heal the pain) and this was the first sign for Clara of Brahms' interest in Julie. [Brahms, Johannes][Schumann, Julie]
27/11/1871Clara Schumann and Julie von Asten play Brahms' "Ungarischen Tänze zu vier Händen" in Berlin [Brahms, Johannes]
0/0/1873Clara Schumann moves back to Berlin 
17/8/1873Commemoration of Robert Schumann in Bonn to raise funds for a memorial. The music festival took place on 17-19 August. Funds were raised to replace Schumann's tombstone for a more worthy monument. The performances were conducted by Wilhelm von Wasielewski and Joseph Joachim. Clara Schumann herself was a performer. Others were Marie Wilt, Amalie Joachim, Marie Sartorius, Franz Diener, Julius Stockhausen, Adolph Schulze and Ernst Rudorff. [Joachim, Amalie][Joachim, Joseph][Schumann, Robert][Stockhausen, Julius][Wilt, Marie]
24/10/1878Clara Schumann's 50th jubilee as a concert artist is celebrated in Frankfurt am Main and Leipzig 
12/3/1891Last public concert by Clara Schumann in Frankfurt am Main. She was 71 years old and she played Brahms's "Variations on a Theme by Haydn" in a duet verion with James Kwast. 
26/11/1937First performance of Robert Schumann's Violin Concerto. It was performed by Georg Kulenkampff and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Karl Böhm was the conductor. The manuscript had been given by Clara Schumann to Joseph Joachim. Joachim had stated in his will that it should not be performed until 1956, 100 years after Schumann's death. This was because he thought that the piece showed signs of Schumann's mental illness. Joachim's heirs gave permission for an earlier performance. [Böhm, Karl][Joachim, Joseph][Schumann, Robert]


Clara Schumann painted by Franz von Lenbach when she was nearly 60 years old.


The grave of Robert and Clara Schumann at the Alter Friedhof, Bonn.
Picture by Androom (23 Apr 2005)


Plaque at Bilkerstrasse 15, where Robert and Clara Schumann lived in Düsseldorf.
Picture by Androom (06 Nov 2005)


The grave of Robert and Clara Schumann at the Alter Friedhof, Bonn.
Picture by Androom (17 Jun 2012)


Clara Schumann Chronology, Internet, 1996
• Halloran, Annemarie, Liszt’s Heroes: An investigation into the Artistic Interdependence, 2005
Time Table of History, Xïphias, 1992
Winkler Prins Encyclopedie (editie 1909), 1909
NameBright - Coming Soon
Georg Kulenkampff – Wikipedia
Julie von Asten – Wikipedia
Sigismond Thalberg - Wikipedia
Decoding the music masterpieces: Liszt's Piano Sonata in B minor - ABC News
Clara Schumann Chronology

Schumann, Felix

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 10 Mar 2022