Becoming Clara Schumann

Performance Strategies and Aesthetics in the Culture of the Musical Canon

by Alexander Stefaniak

Published by: Indiana University Press

336 Pages, 6.12 x 9.25 in, 1 b&w illus, 6 b&w tables, 32 printed music items

  • Paperback
  • 9780253058287
  • Published: November 2021

$32.00

  • eBook
  • 9780253058263
  • Published: November 2021

$31.99

  • Hardcover
  • 9780253058294
  • Published: November 2021

$85.00

  • eBook
  • 9780253058270
  • Published: November 2021

$31.99

Well before she married Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann was already an internationally renowned pianist, and she concertized extensively for several decades after her husband's death. Despite being tied professionally to Robert, Clara forged her own career and played an important role in forming what we now recognize as the culture of classical music.

Becoming Clara Schumann guides readers through her entire career, including performance, composition, edits to her husband's music, and teaching. Alexander Stefaniak brings together the full run of Schumann's concert programs, detailed accounts of her performances and reception, and other previously unexplored primary source material to illuminate how she positioned herself within larger currents in concert life and musical aesthetics. He reveals that she was not only an accomplished strategist—having played roughly 1,300 concerts in her 61-year career across western and central Europe—but also played an integral role in shaping the reception of her husband's music. Revolutionary for the time, Schumann earned success and prestige by crafting her own playing style, selecting and composing her own concerts, and acting as her own manager.

By highlighting Schumann's navigation of music's gendered boundaries, Becoming Clara Schumann details how she cultivated her public image in order to win over audiences and embody some of her field's most ambitious aspirations for musical performance.