Schumann, Clara

BORN 13 Sep 1819, Leipzig, Sachsen: Hause "Hohe Lilie", Neumarkt - DIED 20 May 1896, Frankfurt am Main, Hessen
REAL 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
• 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
• was a friend of Brahms, Johannes
• was teacher to Goldschmidt, Otto
• 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
• was a friend of Stockhausen, Elisabeth von
• knew Thalberg, Sigismund
• disliked the work of Wagner, Richard

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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
3/5/1837First concert tour by Clara Wieck. The tour brought her to Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen. She also visited her mother Mariana. 
0/4/1838Clara Wieck hears Franz Liszt for the first time in Vienna [Liszt, Franz]
3/9/1839Clara Wieck joins her mother Mariana to live with her in Berlin 
6/12/1853Sophie Offermans sings a work by Robert Schumann accompanied by Clara Schumann. She sang a part from "Der Rose Pilgerfahrt" by Schumann at the Hague. Clara Schumann accompanied her on the piano. Robert Schumann was in the public. [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]
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]
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. 


Robert and Clara Schumann's grave at the Alter Friedhof, Bonn.
Picture by Androom (23 Aug 1995)


The house of Friedrich Wieck at what is now called the Wieckstrasse (number 10) in Loschwitz, Dresden. Here his daughter Clara met her future husband Robert Schumann.
Picture by Androom (7 Aug 1998)


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
Sigismond Thalberg - Wikipedia
Sophie Offermans-van Hove - Wikipedia

Schumann, Julie

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 05 Sep 2021