Clara Schumann’s concert tours

Clara Wieck-Schumann’s concert career can be divided into three stages:

1831–1839: the period when her father Friedrich Wieck built up and consolidated her fame as a virtuoso. Clara Wiecktransformed herself from a child prodigy into an acknowledged young artist who was named on an equal footing along with the most famous pianists of the time, such as Sigismund Thalberg, Adolph Henselt, or Franz Liszt.
1840–1854: the period of her marriage when her concert activity was restricted but also the time when she undertook joint concert tours together with her husband Robert (Holland, Russia).

1854–1891: the concert career of “Madame” (or “Mrs Dr”) Schumann” who became the most important pianist of the 19thcentury and formed the musical life of her timelike hardly any other musician, even more so as she had been on the stage for more than sixty years.

Clara Schumann’s programming changed in the course of time; as from 1840, she hardly ever included in her concerts any of the virtuosic pieces by Pixis or Herz, which she had played before. The pillars of her repertoire now were Beethoven, Bach, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Chopin, and Schubert. She thus became exemplary for pianists like Hans von Bülow or Anton Rubinstein in the 1860s and 1870s. During her fourth journey to England, she achieved her final breakthrough there in 1865 when she performed many works of Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms or Schubert for the first time in public in London and other English and Scottish towns. Her interpretations were momentous for Russian musical life as well: During her second journey to Russia in 1864, Clara Schumann was able to inspire the pianist Anton Rubinstein and the composerPyotr Tchaikovskywith the music of Robert Schumann, for which she had advocated vehemently for decades. Over the first decades of her career, her father had managed the concert organisation by himself: hiring concert halls, obtaining official permissions, winning other artists for participation, printing concert leaflets and entrance cards, and advertising. Later on, Clara Wieck-Schumann had to act as her own concert manager, supported by her daughters and a wide network of friends and admirers all over Europe. England was an exception though; there, agencies organised her concerts. The journeys were first made by carriage, and then since the 1840s by train. The enhanced travel speed also brought about an increased frequency of concerts. This is how the pianist often moved between towns several times, for instance, between Mitau and Riga, or Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague. Performances sometimes followed in quick succession, at intervals of one or two days only. Along with the official concerts, Clara Schumann played in private circles additionally.

As from 1873, the pianist had to restrict her concert activity due to health issues, such as her increasing rheumatism, arthritis, and hearing problems. During her journeys to England, she only performed in London as from 1876, and no longer travelled to other towns, as she had done often before. At the entreaties of her admirers, she undertook her last journey to London in 1888 (the nineteenth one) and bid farewell to the public there with Schumann’sCarnaval. Her last public appearance was on 12th March 1891 in Frankfurt/Main, but she carried on teaching, listening to music and playing the piano herself up until her death.

The following lists only those concerts which Clara Wieck-Schumann gave during her concert tours, but NOT those she gave at her respective places of residence. This is why the list does not include her debut in Leipzig on 20th October 1828 at the Gewandhaus concert hall, or her last public appearance in Frankfurt/Main.

(Julia M. Nauhaus, translated by Thomas Henninger)

[ Concert listing ]

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