Mrs. Schumann

I don’t know how many of you are classical music lovers, but even if you aren’t partial you may have heard of Robert Schumann. Schumann is widely regarded as one of the most influential and talented composers of the Romantic era (1815-1910), but his wife, Clara, remains relatively unknown to the general public (and wasn’t a familiar name to yours truly until music history studies in college).

Clara was a child prodigy, embarking on piano concert tours with her teacher-father and impressing the likes of Goethe, Paganini, Liszt, and Chopin. From childhood until mid-thirties she produced a large body of work, aided by her husband in the beginning but later developing into a talented composer in her own right. After marrying Robert and giving birth to eight children she stepped away from composing, taking on more financial responsibilities and supporting her family by teaching and giving concert tours. Clara’s legacy as a composer and performer still reverberate to this day, from the expectation of memorization of music in recitals to recital structure to tirelessly promoting her husband’s music after his death.

What a woman!

I’ve wanted to showcase an outstanding musical lady for some time now but couldn’t find the proper fit until inspiration stopped by to say hello. Celebrate this pioneer in lady classical music by listening to some of her works!

Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 7 – Allegro maestoso
Three Romances for Violin and Piano, Op. 22
Impromptu in E Major

Some quotes from Clara and her hubby.

Composing gives me great pleasure…there is nothing that surpasses the joy of creation, if only because through it one wins hours of self-forgetfulness, when one lives in a world of sound.
—Clara Schumann
Clara has composed a series of small pieces, which show a musical and tender ingenuity such as she has never attained before. But to have children, and a husband who is always living in the realm of imagination, does not go together with composing. She cannot work at it regularly, and I am often disturbed to think how many profound ideas are lost because she cannot work them out.
—Robert Schumann in the joint diary of Robert and Clara Schumann


  1. I often am inclined to think that I am crazy and maybe too modern for trying to keep having a go at this music career amidst my responsibilities as a mom (of only two though, not eight…yet) and as a wife of a professional musician. Thanks for the reminder that it is not some new cultural feminism that is influencing me; I guess the pull toward – and challenge of – blancing domesticity and music is no new phenomenon!

  2. After listening to your KSKQ broadcast yesterday this message is particularly meaningful to me – to embrace and celebrate a special woman (like you!) shows an emotional depth that is truly a beautiful thing.

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