From Prodigy to Priestess: Clara Schumann at 200


On September 13, 2019, we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Clara Wieck Schumann (1819–1896), one of the most brilliant and influential musicians of the nineteenth century. Beginning as a dazzling child prodigy and ending as a black-clad “priestess” of high art, she was in the spotlight for six decades. She earned her greatest acclaim as a pianist, and she also achieved considerable success as a composer and as a teacher. She was a central figure in the lives of two other renowned composers: her husband Robert Schumann, and their friend Johannes Brahms.

Our exhibit features two manuscripts and two letters in her own hand, along with manuscripts by Robert Schumann and Brahms, as well as images and modern sound recordings.


Richard Boursy, curator. Special thanks to Mark Bailey, Rebecca Hatcher, Eva Heater, Suzanne Lovejoy, Jonathan Manton, Ruthann McTyre, and Anne Marie Menta.