1878-1896 Frankfurt

Das ''Leinwandhaus'' in der Altstadt von Frankfurt am Main
The ''Leinwandhaus'' in the city center of Frankfurt am Main, photography from 1880, reproduction in Offset print, scanned.

(source: http://commons.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Frankfurt_Am_Main-Leinwandhaus-1880.jpg Wikipedia)

In 1878 Clara Schumann accepted the invitation of the Dr. Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main to become the first and at first only woman to teach there. Director Joachim Raff told another lady that asked for employment that Madame Schumann is an exception and therefore values as a gentleman. But already in 1880 he changed his point of view and already employed two female lecturers.

Blick vom Eisernen Steg auf den Saalhof
view from Eiserner Steg to the Saalhof, residence of the Hoch'sche Conservatory from 1878-88, photography from 2007 (from: Wikipedia entry on Hoch’sches Conservatory, GNU Free Documentation License)

In the same year Raff arranged composing classes for women, presumably the first of their kind in Germany. Clara Schumann was privileged in many ways, just because of her reputation: She gave the lessons in her own apartment, and she also was able and allowed to go on concert tours anytime. Pianists from the United States, Italy, Great Britain, Austria and Germany came to Frankfurt to take classes with Clara Schumann. Her daughters Marie and Eugenie assisted her, because Clara only accepted advanced piano students. Beside the classes she spent time on editorial projects such as the publishing of the letters by young Robert Schumann and the complete edition of his works by Breitkopf & Härtel. The correspondence with the publishing company and the advisory correspondence with Brahms and others took a lot of time. Of course Clara Schumann gave private concerts in her house in Myliusstraße 32, especially when Brahms, Joachim or Stockhausen came to visit. Her students were also welcome to attend these occasions.

Empfangszimmer Clara Schumanns
Reception room of Clara Schumann, Frankfurt, Myliusstraße 32 photography around 1880 (Robert-Schumann-Haus, Zwickau)

In her last years, Clara Schumann had to handle the death of her sons Felix (1879) and Ferdinand (1891). Her daughter Eugenie left Germany in 1891, the year of Clara’s last public performance. Eugenie went to England, to her friend Maria Fillunger, to start her own life as a piano teacher. Elise on the contrary returned with husband and children from America and settled down in Frankfurt. Because of her bad health condition (hardness of hearing and rheumatic pains) Clara Schumann stopped her teaching in 1892. Insofar as able, she continued to play piano regularly and livened up when Brahms came to visit her. On May 20th in 1896 she died from a second stroke and was buried at the Old Cemetery in Bonn, next to her husband.

(Julia M. Nauhaus, translated by Katharina Ma)


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