Clara Wieck Schumann (1819-1896) was a German pianist and composer. She was one of the first women to make a stellar career as a concert pianist. Yet, she is arguably better known now as Robert Schumann’s wife. And, while the opportunities for women in the arts were opening up throughout the nineteenth century, there was still a barrier of societal expectation preventing women even from thinking of themselves as equal to men in the realm of composition. (Clara Schumann wrote of her own doubts about her abilities as a composer.)
Research options: Choose one of the following as a focus:
1. Biography of Clara Schumann: her life, her performance careeer, and the people she knew
2. Musical contributions, as a composer (Google “clara schumann piano music youtube”): Select a piece and listen to it.
In your own words, present some of the information you have found that you think would interest your classmates. Cite your sources (e.g., Grove Music Online, Wikipedia). Make sure you know what has already been posted, so that you are presenting information that has not yet been posted on the board. Then address several of these questions for consideration.
Questions to consider: About Clara Schumann’s life: How does this knowledge affect your views of societal expectations of gender roles? How does this knowledge affect your appreciation of her artistry and music? How does our knowledge of her life influence our views of musical artists today? Elaborate. About Clara Schumann’s musical contributions: Present information about the piece you selected. Describe the music you have selected and its effect on you? How does it compare with some of the other Romantic works we have studied? Elaborate.