Marsha Bjornn

Clara Schumann – Her Friends and Foe

Clara Schumann, a 19th century European composer, was born September 13, 1819. She composed her first music at the age of 15. Widowed at the age of 37, Schumann continued to write and perform for the next 40 years. In addition to carrying on a phenomenal career as a performer, Clara supported her seven children and grandchildren by teaching. For the greater part of the nineteenth century this remarkable woman thrilled audiences throughout Europe. Her dedication, combined with her serious, refined playing inspired many to describe her as a “High Priestess” of music. She was considered an equal by the male musicians and composers of her time, i.e. Liszt, Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn and Chopin. This was an extraordinary compliment. Her stellar talent, combined with the music skills and determination learned at her father’s knee enabled her to rise above the expectations of the society in which she lived.