Robert Schumann: The Life of a Turbulent Musical Genius

If we try to imagine a 19th century Romantic artist, this person would have to be highly emotional, possess great talent, and also suffer from mental instability. The composer, Robert Schumann (1810–1849), was the perfect specimen. His was a difficult, but rich and fruitful life with a supporting cast almost as interesting as the composer himself. There was his wife, Clara, the most famous pianist of her time; Clara’s father and Schumann’s teacher, Frederick Wieck, a man of towering presence who was unnaturally bound to Clara, his best pupil; and Schumann’s amazing contemporaries and close friends, Felix Mendelsohn and Johannes Brahms. We will thoroughly investigate these many influences. And we will, of course, examine Schumann’s musical contribution with in-class performances of some of his greatest works. Our final discussion will return to a key topic of this seminar: Is madness a necessary component of the creative process?

  • Group Leader(s): LUCIENNE DAVIDSON
  • Days: Thursdays
  • Times: 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
  • Start Date: 10/3/2019
  • End Date: 10/31/2019
  • Sessions: 4
  • Exceptions: 10/24/2019
  • Venue: Harvard Musical Association
  • Teaching Style: Lecture with music and discussion
  • Weekly Preparation: None
  • Biography: Pianist Lucienne Davidson was born in Paris and raised in New York City. She entered Juilliard at age nine, and continued musical studies at Yale, Bennington College, and the New England Conservatory (NEC). She made her piano recital debut at Weill Recital Hall in 1989, and has performed in Europe and the U.S. as a soloist, chamber musician, and with orchestra. Additionally, she served for two years as chamber music assistant to the eminent pianist and teacher, Leonard Shure; was chamber music co-coordinator at NEC; and was founder and artistic director of Musique à midi at the French Library and Cultural Center.
  • Address: 57 Chestnut Street