A final look at Clara Schumann

Last week, I mentioned that Clara spent most of her life immersed in music and family.  For the time period, she was different – definitely a working mom in her day! Clara Josephine was born in 1819 and live 76 very full years.

After her marriage to Robert, she continued her career. In fact, she was a primary contributor to the household finances. She and Robert had 8 children, 7 of whom survived infancy. Clara continued to perform for most of her life, with her last public performance in 1891 at the age of 71. From the age of 59 to 72 she taught at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main. She was one of the primary performers to play recitals from memory.  She set the stage for our modern day recitals where it is now a normal thing to hear someone play from memory.  

As we mentioned in previous posts, family was obviously important to her. As a child, her life was dictated by her father and the various concert performances he booked for her. As an adult, she seems to have placed a high value on her family – working to help support them, becoming the main person to promote her husband’s compositions after he passed away. Two of her own children died in their mid twenties and one in his early 40’s. Clara took on the responsibility of raising two of her grandchildren when her son passed.

A strong woman, dedicated to music and family – that is what comes to mind when I think of Clara Schumann.


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