8 June 1810 - 29 July 1856 age 46

Robert Schumann was one of the most important Romantic composers of the 19th century. He was also a pianist, influential music critic and editor of 'The New Journal of Music'.

He was a champion of young composers including Chopin and Brahms.

His wife Clara, also a composer, was one of the most outstanding pianists of her day.






portrait of Robert Schumann


Robert Alexander Schumann
Born: 8 June 1810 Zwickau, Saxony
Father: August Schumann, bookseller, writer and publisher
Mother: Johanna
Siblings: Youngest of 5
Wife: Clara Josephine Wieck 1819-96, (daughter of his piano teacher)
Children: eight
Died: 29 July 1856 age 46
Cause of death: syphilis
Buried: Zentral Friedhof, Bonn. see findagrave

Schumann Google Doodle


Period: Early German Romantic
Output: considerable
Influenced by: Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Paganini, Schubert, Clara Schumann
Influenced: too many to list!
- 4 Symphonies
- Piano Concerto
- Cello Concerto
Chamber music
many pieces including:
- Album for the Young
- Scenes from Childhood
- Carnaval
- Fantasy Pieces
- Papillons
over 400 including lieder (solo voice + piano), partsongs, duets and trios
Choral music, opera and drama
- Genoveva (opera)
- Manfred
- Paradise and the Peris
- Scenes from Goethe's Faust

The Merry Peasant


- age 18 began studying law at Leipzig University
- age 20 attending a concert by Paganini convinced him to follow a career in music.
- age 24-34 Edited the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Journal for Music) which he jointly founded. He championed young composers including Chopin and Brahms.
- age 30 - married Clara, his piano teacher's daughter, much against her father's will
- met Liszt
- doctorate from Universty of Jena
- age 40 Appointed music director in Dusseldorf.
- age 44 - attempted suicide by throwing himself into the Rhine.
- Requested to be put into an asylum where he stayed until he died.
- age 46 - died

Schumann in art

Health and personality

- As his father was a bookseller he was exposed to books and developed a great love of literature and thought about becoming a novelist. George Bernard Shaw once remarked that he was as much a literary man as a musician.
- It was soon apparent that he was a good pianist. He had aspirations to becoming a concert pianist but an injury his right hand ended that possibility. One theory is that the damage to his hand was caused by a device for strengthening his fingers, but a more recent theory is that it was caused by mercury poisoning from treatment of syphilis.
- He was not an effective teacher and neither was he a popular conductor.
- He suffered various personal tragedies during his life and from the age of 43 he suffered from bipolar disorder, also called manic depression.

Piano Concerto
Uchida · Rattle · Berliner Philharmoniker

Fantasy Pieces for Piano & Clarinet

Symphony No.3 -1st Mov

Cello Concerto
Mischa Maisky cello
Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
Orchestra: Wiener Philarmoniker


  • "Nothing right can be accomplished in art without enthusiasm."
  • "If we were all determined to play the first violin we should never have an ensemble. therefore, respect every musician in his proper place. "
  • "The painter turns a poem into a painting; the musician sets a picture to music."
  • "In order to compose, all you need to do is remember a tune that nobody else has thought of."

Schumann postage stamp

Links, sources and where to go for more information

Answers.com a collection of reference sites including Wikipedia

Classical Net short bio and recommended recordings

mfiles.co.uk a short biography and overview

DSO Kids A children's introduction

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