The Legacy of Clara Schumann

By Kate MacKenzie

One of my youngest piano students inspired the topic of this month’s blog post about a very important musician and composer named Clara Schumann (1819-1896). Her husband, Robert Schumann, was a very prominent composer of the time. However, Clara’s work and talent went largely unnoticed because it was believed that women should not compose music, nor should they perform publicly. Though she was heavily supported in her musical education on the piano (she was considered a child prodigy), she was expected to focus on her homelife once she was married.

Nonetheless, Clara found a way to continue with her passion of music. She had some support from both her father and her husband, the latter even helped to get her compositions published by using his name instead of hers. And as a performer she organized private concerts to show-off her tremendous skills. Later in life, her persistence was proving successful because she began to be recognized as a world-class performer throughout Europe.

Clara’s legacy as someone who challenged conventional boundaries, is still felt today. Music students find her an inspiration when faced with obstacles that seem impossible to overcome. Though she was mainly regarded as a performer during her life, musicians began to discover the wide scope of her many compositions that were suppressed by publishers. In honor of Clara’s strength and tenacity, I hope everyone will explore the beauty of her music!

Are you interested in learning more about how musicians today are trying to bring attention to Clara Schumann and other female composers? Check out this recent article published in The Telegraph!

Also, this YouTube video is a few spectacular (modern) recordings of her music!