Robert Schumann Research Centre (Forschungsstelle)

Karl-Arnold-Haus der Wissenschaften
Palmenstraße 16
40217 Düsseldorf

Tel.: 0211 / 131102
Fax: 0211 / 327083

Chairperson of the Managing Board: Prof. Dr Ulrich Konrad

Full-time members of staff:
Dr. Armin Koch: (Editionsleitung)
Timo Evers M.A.:
Dr. Michael Beiche: (Teilzeit)
Tirza Cremer M.A.: (Teilzeit)

Research / technical assistance:
Christina Thomas M.A.:
Birgit Spörl M. A.:
Julia Schlothmann B.A.:

Bank details:
Deutsche Bank AG Düsseldorf
BLZ: 300 700 10
Konto-Nr.: 331 2030

Robert Schumann Research Centre (Forschungsstelle) in Düsseldorf
Office at the Robert Schumann House
Hauptmarkt 5
08056 Zwickau

Tel. und Fax: 0375 / 213757

Research assistant: Dr. Ute Scholz:


There are good reasons for the Schumann Research Centre, in existence since 1986, to be domiciled in Düsseldorf. As is well known, Robert Schumann worked as Music Director in this town on the Lower Rhine between September 1850 and the moment when his health collapsed in February 1854. This was actually his first and only regular employment. About one third of his complete works were created in Düsseldorf.

In 1981, the First International Schumann Symposium took place in Düsseldorf, organised by the Düsseldorf Schumann Society, itself established in 1979 by Dr Gisela Schäfer []. In this context, Prof. Dr Ako Mayeda demanded emphatically that a historico-critical complete edition of Robert Schumann’s works be produced, given that the old complete edition, published over 100 years ago by Clara Schumann, did not include all of Schumann’s compositions, and that the underlying editorial procedures were no longer acceptable today; that there were neither critical commentaries (listings of variants and readings) nor did it become clear on the basis of which sources the textual structure had been performed in particular.

Earlier attempts to establish a new complete edition of Schumann’s works failed primarily due to the division of German, as central collections of sources were held on the territory of the former GDR, in Zwickau, and in East Berlin. Although these adverse political conditions still existed as before, the Düsseldorf Schumann Society, which included Prof. Mayeda on its musicological advisory committee, picked up the idea of a new complete edition and in 1982 decided to embark on this ambitious project. Prof. Dr Klaus Wolfgang Niemöller, another member of the advisory committee, succeeded in securing the financing of a preliminary project by the German Research Foundation, whose objective was to determine the international locations of Schumann autographs. This project was conducted within the Institute of Musicology of the University of Cologne between January 1985 and March 1986. After the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities in Mainz had agreed in summer 1985 to incorporate a new complete edition of Schumann’s works into their support programme, the Robert Schumann Society in Düsseldorf opened a corresponding research centre in Düsseldorf in April 1986. Chairperson of the Research Centre was Professor Klaus Wolfgang Niemöller, and Professor Akio Mayeda was editor-in-chief. There are currently three full-time members of staff working at the Schumann Research Centre in Düsseldorf: Dr Michael Beiche, Dr Armin Koch, and Dr Matthias Wendt. This edition is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education and by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. 

In fact, in spite of the then difficult political circumstances, there had been close academic contacts with the Robert Schumann House in Zwickau from the very outset. Without cooperation with Zwickau, the complete edition would not have materialised. The editorship mentioned on the title pages of the complete edition in connection with the Schumann House in Zwickau highlights this cooperation. In 1992, after the fall of the Inner German border, another position could be established at the Schumann House in Zwickau (Dr Ute Bär) thanks to the initiative of the Academy of Mainz.

Structure of the archives

The Robert Schumann Research Centre basically covers three sets of archives.The centrepiece encompasses collections of microfilms and copies of autograph and transcription sources: sheet music, letters, autobiographical notes, essays, theoretical notes, documents on Schumann’s editorial activity relating to the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik [New Journal for Music], established by him in 1834. Sources are accessed via indexes and electronic databases. Given that Clara Schumann often acted as a copyist of her husband’s works, exchanged letters with publishers and also monitored the Nachlass edition after Schumann’s death, it was only natural to integrate documents on the life and work of Clara Schumann into the collection of sources right from the beginning. The Düsseldorf Institute has thus actually become a Robert and Clara Schumann Research Centre.

The second archive section is composed of a collection of original and first editions, nearly complete by now, which consists primarily of copies but also includes some precious originals. 

The third section consists of a special library on subjects relating to Robert and Clara Schumann, which today might well be the most comprehensive one worldwide with some 8000 titles.

Complete Edition

The first volume of the New Gesamtausgabe [Complete Edition] was presented in 1991. It contains the Missa sacra Op. 147, a late work from the Düsseldorf period, which Schumann had no longer been able to have printed himself. Still in the same year, the second volume appeared with the works for Women’s Voices, then in 1993 the Requiem Op. 148, and the Symphony No. 3 in 1995. The edition of two sketch books was ready in 1998. An illustrated biography of Robert Schumann, also published in 1998 within the scope of the Complete Edition, was received with undivided enthusiasm by the public. This volume has become a “bestseller” in the meantime. After that the Overture, Scherzo and Finale Op. 52 appeared. Another volume containing sacred music was published in 2000, including the 150th Psalm, an early work of the twelve-year-old. This was followed in 2001 by the violin sonatas and the works for piano four hands. In 2002, a volume containing the texts of Schumann’s lieder for one voice appeared, essential from the point of view of text genesis. The Piano Concerto Op. 54 and a volume containing contrapuntal studies were published in 2003; the String Quartets Op. 41 followed in 2006. Four more volumes are in the process of preparation (concert pieces / movements for piano; the Cello Concerto and the Concert Piece for Four Horns and Orchestra; a volume containing lieder and another volume with study books and the Bridal Book). Not only the academic community but also editors, antiquarians, musicians, and librarians welcomed, in particular, the Thematisch-Bibliographisches Werkverzeichnis (RSW) [Thematic and Bibliographical Catalogue of Works], published in early 2003. This Catalogue of Works, comprising over 1000 pages, the result of twelve years’ work, was published by the Robert Schumann Society in Düsseldorf in conjunction with the Research Centre, edited by Margit L. McCorkle. It documents the current state of knowledge regarding historical data and sources of well-known opuses, but, beyond that, for the first time also examines in detail the large area of fragments and compositional plans. The fine differentiation of the compositional spectrum thus achieved will effectively shape Schumann research in the years ahead.

International cooperation

Numerous researchers from within the international circle of Schumann specialists could be won over for cooperation with the Complete Edition printed by Schott in Mainz. The Complete Edition is expected to cover over 50 volumes. Completion is scheduled for 2020. Along with the scores of the respective works and critical commentaries, each volume contains a facsimile supplement whereabove all sketches, work fragments, score images and title pages are reproduced. 

The Research Centre in Düsseldorf was visited by numerous researchers, PhD and MA students from all over the world from the very outset. Many musicology students completed their practical training at the Research Centre, and many a master and doctoral thesis arose out of this. The Schumann Research Centre took part in the Schumann festivals in Düsseldorf from the very beginning and also organised a number of symposia on various Schumann-related subjects the proceedings of which (nine so far) are also available in printed form in the series “Schumann Forschungen” des Schott Verlags [“Schumann Research” by publisher Schott], edited by A. Mayeda and K. W. Niemöller. 

Even renowned artists take an interest in the editorial work. Claudio Arrau, Alfred Brendel and the Abegg Trio have been amongst the prominent visitors to the Research Centre in Düsseldorf. John Eliot Gardiner, Roger Norrington, Nicolaus Harnoncourt and other conductors have requested academic support from the Research Centre. Radio and television broadcasting companies, record and film producers frequently consult the staff at the Research Centre.


Given that federal and state funding only covers human and part of material resources via the Union of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, the Schumann Research Centre is dependent on sponsorship donations. So far, the Complete Edition project has been supported by generous donations from, inter alia, the Friedrich Flick Foundation, the Thyssen Foundation, the Association for the Promotion of Science and Humanities in Germany, the Van Meeteren Foundation, Dai-Ichi-Kangyo Bank, companies Denon, Epson, Toyota, as well as private sponsors. The Complete Edition project receives regular support from Deutsche Bank AG, Düsseldorf, and from Degussa AG, Düsseldorf.

M. Wendt, translated by Th. Henninger


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