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Clara Wieck Schumann

Biography
Childhood and youth 1819 - 1840

1819
On September 13, Clara Josephine Wieck is born in Leipzig as the second of five children of the music teacher and piano firm owner Friedrich Wieck (1785 - 1873) and the soprano Marianne Tromlitz (1797 - 1872).

1824
Clara starts formal piano lessons with her father after her mother left the family. Friedrich Wieck had resolved even before her birth that she should become a great piano virtuoso. He develops his own teaching method and gives her daily lessons in piano, violin, singing, theory, harmony, composition, counterpoint.
Picture of Clara Wieck and her father

1825
Divorce of her parents in January. Her mother marries Adolph Bargiel in August.

1828
Robert Schumann (1810 - 1856) arrives in Leipzig and has first contacts to Friedrich Wieck.
Friedrich Wieck marries Clementine Fechner in July.
After several private performances Clara makes her public debut in a concert in the Leipziger Gewandhaus on October 20 at the age of 9.

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1830
Clara gives successfull private concerts in Dresden, March 6 to April 7.
After spending a year at the University of Heidelberg, Robert Schumann returns to Leipzig to study with Friedrich Wieck and to live in his house.
Clara gives her first complete solo concert in the Leipziger Gewandhaus, November 8, at the age of 11.
She writes her first piano composition, Quatre polonaises pour le pianoforte, op.1

1831 - 1832
First extended concert tour with her father in Germany and France (Paris). Among other private and public performances she plays for Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, aged 82, in Weimar.
Picture of Clara Wieck 1832

1831 - 1835
Extensive concert tours in Germany.
Clara composes several piano pieces: Caprices en forme de valse, op.2, Romance varie, op.3, Valses romantiques, op. 4, Quatre pieces characteristiques, op. 5, as well as other lost piano pieces and song accompaniments: Romanze für Gesang und Klavier, Walzer für Gesang und Klavier

1835
She is acknowledged throughout Europe as a phenomenally talented child prodigy; among her admirers are Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Paganini, Chopin (whom she meets in Leipzig in 1835), and Schumann.
Robert Schumann begins courtship of Clara.
Clara finishes the Premier concert pour le piano forte, op.7.
Picture of Clara Wieck 1835

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1836
Friedrich Wieck prohibits the connection between Robert Schumann and his daughter and tries to prevent every contact.
Several concert tours in Germany.
Clara composes Soirées musicales, op. 6.
Picture of Clara Wieck 1836

1837
Secret engagement of Clara Wieck and Robert Schumann, August 14.
Robert Schumann asks formally for permission to marry Clara. Friedrich Wieck rejects because he considers it an unsuitable match. A fierce three-year battle between him and the couple begins.
Clara composes Variations de Concert pour le Piano-Forte sur la Cavatine du 'Pirate' de Bellini, op. 8.
Clara starts her first concert tour to Vienna, October 15 to May 15, 1838.

1838
The Viennese concert tour is very successful, Clara is appointed "k.k. Kammervirtuosin" (=Royal and Imperial Virtuosa) by the Austrian court. She gets to know the the piano virtuoso Franz Liszt and the poet Franz Grillparzer, who honors her with the poem "Clara Wieck and Beethoven".
Souvenir de Vienne, Impromptu, op. 9, Scherzo pour le pianoforte, op. 10

1839
Concert tour to Paris, February 6 to August 14.
Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck write a petition to the Court of Appeals to marry without the consent of Friedrich Wieck.
Trois romances pour le piano, op. 11.
Picture of Robert Schumann 1839

1840
The Court consents to the marriage. Robert Schumann and Clara Wieck marry on September 12, one day before her 21st birthday. They settle in Leipzig.
Song accompaniments Am Strande, Volkslied.
Picture of Clara Wieck 1840

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References: cf. Bibliography


This page was created for an html-project at SCILS, the School of Communication, Information, & Library Studies at Rutgers University, NJ. Questions and comments to Renate Evers. Last modified: December 15, 1997