Schumannhaus Bonn in Bonn – Music Library (Bonn Municipal Museum)
The Schumannhaus is domicile of the Music Library, a branch of Bonn Town Library. On the first floor, the reading room of the Library, which for many years has also been used as a chamber music hall, adjoins two small rooms where Robert Schumann lived from his admission in spring 1854 up until his death on 29th July 1856.
Bonn City Library
Telephone: 0049 (0)228 77-3656
Fax: 0049 (0)228 77-91 73 656
Direction: Silke Kovår
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: 11.00 - 13.30 hrs and 15.00 - 18.00 hrs
Mondays, Saturdays and Sundays closed!
Bus lines 604, 605, 606, 607
Stop at Alfred-Bucherer-Straße
Access for wheelchair users
Holdings: 7910 books, 19 journals / newspapers, 27200 sheet music editions, 14810 CDs, 920 DVDs, 130 Blue-Ray-Discs.
Cf. German Music Information Centre (MIZ): www.miz.org
On the history of the Schumann House:
The history of this building in neo-classical style goes back to the time of the last Elector of Cologne, Maximilian Franz. At that time, it served as a country seat in the vicinity of Bonn to Privy Councillor of the Electoral Territory of Cologne and Lay Judge Mayor Matthias Joseph Kaufmann. In 1844, the building and the spacious estate were acquired by Dr Franz Richarz, a physician trained at Bonn University, who until that time had worked at the public mental asylum in Siegburg, and who on 26th October 1844 now opened there a private “Institution for the treatment and care of emotionally disturbed and mad persons”. At the beginning of March 1854, Robert Schumann arrived at the institution of Dr Richarz as a patient for treatment and stayed there until his death. Schumann was only rarely allowed to leave the estate for a walk but then, of course, he always had to be accompanied by a guard, even with friends present.
On the occasion of one of the visits by the young Johannes Brahms, his way led him to the Beethoven monument at Münsterplatz square, for which he had been one of the first to make an ardent appeal for funds (“Monument for Beethoven”) to the public in his journal “Neue Zeitschrift für Musik” in 1836. After a meeting with his wife Clara on 28th July, Schumann deceased in the afternoon of 29th July 1856 and was laid to rest in the Old Cemetery with many from his circle of friends and the population of Bonn attending the funeral. In 1880, a memorial made by Adolf Donndorf and donated by his friends and admirers was unveiled at the same place within the scope of a Schumann festival. The first gravestone was donated by his young friend Johannes Brahms who at the time of Schumann’s death was only 23 years old.
At Schumann’s last residence in Endenich, the idea of setting up a Schumann memorial was first brought forward by senior medical officer Dr Kellner in 1926, and a plaque was mounted, donated by the Schumann Society in Zwickau, Schumann’s place of birth. During World War II, the house was severely damaged. Following heated debates amongst the public, the demolition of the building that had been used as part of an old people’s home, could finally be prevented in 1956, the 100th anniversary of Schumann’s death, and its renovation secured. It was then carefully restored and on 12th May 1963, at that time still owned by a Catholic lay order, it was reopened in the presence of the Lord Mayor of Bonn as the “Schumann House”.
This is where the Music Library of the Town Library was housed on a rental basis, and at that time it still had to share the premises with the old people’s home (today present in the immediate vicinity in a new building which was sold to an investor in 2013 and has been rented by the town of Bonn as a refugee asylum for temporary usage since spring 2014) and the Max Reger Archive. Then as now, the Music Library also included the two small patient rooms on the first floor which in 1963 were furnished with documents, pictures and letters from Robert and Clara Schumann and their environment, mostly in the form of loans from Bonn Municipal Archives. After the purchase of the house by the town of Bonn in 1983, which was financially supported by the newly founded Schumann House Society in Bonn, all rooms were transferred to the Municipal Music Library. The large room on the first floor, originally the common room of the Institution, which adjoins the two small Schumann memorial rooms and serves as a reference library and reading room, was used as a concert hall (approx. 100 seats) on the initiative and due to the commitment of its long-time Director, Brigitte Berenbruch, who, prior to her escape from the GDR after the Wall went up, had worked as a musicologist with a renowned publishing house and as a result of this activity still had excellent relations with famous musicians of that time. Todays, concerts at the Schumann House, whether in the form of house concerts of the Beethoven Orchestra or the concerts at the Schumann Festival, are all integral part of the musical life in Bonn. The Music Library with its extensive range of books, sheet music editions and sound and image carriers is one of the most popular branches of Bonn Town Library and is very much appreciated by music lovers of all age groups.
(Photograph: Fotoarchiv Munker, Stadtarchiv Bonn)
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