Very often, the music of women composers is condemned to particular concerts "For Women Composers Only". Rather than promoting their creativity, this practice gives the impression that women composers need special assistance, that their music is inferior, and that they require affirmative action. Instead, their music should be allowed to stand on its own, interdependent with music of men composers, especially their colleagues: those with whom they interact and share influence. Clara Schumann performed extensively and studied piano, voice, violin, instrumentation, wrote, and published music. Her playing was characterized by technical mastery, interpretation, and a depth of feeling. All her compositions date from 1853 or before, including twenty-nine songs, three partsongs, four pieces for piano and orchestra, twenty pieces for solo piano, and three piano concertos by Beethoven and Mozart. Only her love for her husband Robert Schumann surpassed her passion for music. Clara Schumann was as a champion and interpreter of the music of her husband Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms, and was a direct influence on their music.
Clara Schumann was born September 13, 1819 to Marianne and Frederick Wieck (pronounced Veek), in the German city of Leipzig. Frederick chose the name Clara for his child, a name that means bright, or shining. From the time of her birth, Frederick made a decision that Clara would one day grow into a great musician, a virtuoso.
Clara's father was a music teacher, and in the nineteenth century, since there were no radios nor televisions, at night families would entertain each other with conversation, "parlor games" like cards or charades, and music. In a city with so many music lovers, an ambitious piano teacher like Frederick found no shortage of students. All day long, "proper" young men and women streamed in and out of the Wiecks" house. Clara's mother, Marianne, taught piano, also.